My name is Choi Jung and I am a 48 year old Korean. I live on a small island in Korea with my dog, Gom (means 'bear' in Korean). The island is my home town. I came back there in May 1999. The island means everything to me as my job, hobby and my love are all there. I have also been volunteering for an environmental organisation there, called KFEM (Korean Federation for Environmental Movement), since 2001.
My job in the office is focused on the ocean. All my friends know me as a man who loves the sea so much and it is the reason why I am here on Esperanza. But 70 days on a boat is not so short! I am really looking forward to going home now but I have enjoyed my time on board a lot.
Over the weekend we came across a Korean purse seiner in the Pacific Commons. I went over with some of our crew to talk with the captain of the fishing vessel. We handed him a letter about our campaign and I had a long discussion with him over the radio.
He knew about the new rules being introduced in this region soon and respected the cause to preserve tuna for our future. He told us he had not been fishing in the Pacific Commons and was on his way to national waters. In order to send a message home to my country we painted "Pirate?" in Korean on the side of the vessel because of the bad reputation of the vessel's owner company, Don Wong.
Also - it's just not possible to regulate fishing properly in this area unless it is completely closed off. The possibility for illegal activities will be greatly reduced here once fishing can only occur inside the national waters of the Pacific island countries - with the Pacific Commons becoming fully protected marine reserves.
I also held up banners saying "Marine Reserves Now¨ and ¨Korea - Pacific
Tuna Destroyer¨ in English and in Korean because I want my country to start paying attention to this crisis. One crew member even held one of our banners with us. Clearly he understood that saving fish for our future is important. It's a shame that my government doesn't seem to know this. I hope my work out here on the ocean will help to change that.
I realise, even more so now, that the future of the sea is not decided universally by all humankind, but by specific groups of people for their own benefit. It is a big sorrow.
My experience on the Esperanza has taught me not only that the preservation of tuna is very important, but also that we need to harmonize our lives with all life on this planet. The preservation of species is not simply a biological concern, but it is important because it supplies human beings with a balanced life. Saving tuna is absolutely vital for the survival of other species in the ocean. But it will also ensure that local economies in the Pacific and the Asian fishing nations like my country, Korea, will continue to prosper from this fishery. We must manage it with the future in mind.
Everything we have done on this trip has been a great inspiration to my life and I have high hopes for the outcome of the Tuna Commission meeting in December this year. It will be held in Busan, Korea. I hope to be there to witness countries coming together to save the tuna in this region before it's too late.
Images © Greenpeace/Paul Hilton