SEOUL, Jan. 31 (Korea Bizwire) — More than half of Korean women divers, known as “haenyeo,” from the east coast of South Korea are over 70 years of age, a survey showed Monday.
The word haenyeo refers to women who make their living harvesting seafood by hand from the ocean floor without breathing equipment.
The North Gyeongsang provincial government conducted a survey of 952 registered sea divers in the region, of which 85 percent were women.
Among them, 43.9 percent were between 70-79 years of age, 37 percent were between 60-69 years of age and 9.2 percent were older than 80.
When asked about the sea product that was the most profitable for them, 75.7 percent of female divers picked seaweed, followed by sea urchins (21.3 percent), abalone (1.5 percent) and sea cucumbers (0.7 percent).
At 64.1 percent, close to two thirds of haenyeo said they had worked for more than 40 years, while 15.7 percent said they had been divers for 30 to 40 years, and 7.6 percent for less than 10 years.
The average among all of women divers was 40.5 years.
When asked about how long they would continue sea diving, 32.8 percent said they were planning on working for five to 10 more years, 27 percent for one to five more years, and 26.5 percent for 10-15 more years.
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