There was a mixture of excitement and anxiety during a protest activity Greenpeace did against Sajo, a Korean company inside South Korea. However, make no mistake: Sajo is no ordinary company.  Sajo Industries is Korea's biggest fishing company and presumably one of the most influential in shaping the country's international fisheries policies.

That’s why, earlier this week, Greenpeace projected an animation on the wall of one of Sajo’s buildings in the port city of Busan. The animation included images of destructive Pacific tuna fishing and animations of fishing industry officials taking charge of fishing and politics.

To put this in context, Korea's industrial fishing fleet is second only to Japan in its annual catch of tuna.   Korean fishing companies are hardly shining a spotlight on the plight of the Pacific and have been keeping a low profile, perhaps because Japan’s destructive fishing receives so much attention, due to the importance of tuna in the sushi culture.  But the dire state of many Pacific tuna stocks means that other Asian fishing fleets, including from Korea, Taiwan, Philippines and Indonesia, have bright lights put on their roles in the declining health of the Pacific.


For weeks, the Korean Coast Guard had been keeping their eyes on what the Rainbow Warrior crew would do.  They've followed the ship to every port stop and on the day of the projection, they sent three officers to the Greenpeace press conference.  The officers eventually followed us to Sajo's office where an animation showing the trail of Pacific tuna destruction was being projected.

Sajo owns 7 purse seine fishing boats, 79 long-liners and two motherships operating in the Pacific.  Over 94% of Korea’s total catches comes from the Pacific. If the aggressive fishing of the Pacific continues, we’ll have no fish for the future, and certainly no fishing industry. But for several years now, the Korean fishing industry has had undue influence on Korean positions at global fisheries and oceans negotiations, blocking efforts to create ways to sustainably manage Pacific tuna for the benefit of all, not just narrow industry interests.

It's time to draw a line against corporate greed, and we're drawing that line here in Korea. Now that we have an official presence here, our efforts to defend the oceans and the Pacific will only be stronger. Watch this space for more updates and don’t forget to sign the petition to create a global network of marine reserves, one way we can create healthy, living oceans!

Lagi Toribau is the oceans team leader at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, based in Suva, Fiji.

 

There was a mixture of excitement and anxiety on a protest activity
Greenpeace did on a Korean company inside S. Korea. In fact, this is
no ordinary company.  Sajo Industries is Korea's biggest fishing
company and presumably one of the most influential in shaping the
country's international FISHERIES  policies.
 
To put this in context, Korea's industrial fishing fleet is 2nd only
to Japan in its annual catch of tuna .   Korean fishing companies are
hardly shone a spotlight and have been keeping a low profile, perhaps
because majority of media attention is on Japan AND THE IMPORTANCE OF
 TUNA IN THE SUSHI CULTURE.  But the dire state
of MANY Pacific tuna stocks warrant that other Asian fishing fleet, those
from Korea, Taiwan, Philippines and Indonesia, be put on the spotlight
for their roles in the decline of tuna stocks.
 
For weeks, the Korean coast guard had been wary of what the Rainbow
Warrior crew would do.  They've followed the ship on every port stop
and on this day, they sent three officers to the Greenpeace press
conference.  The officers eventually followed us to Sajo's office
where an animation showing the trail of Pacific tuna destruction is
being projected on one of Sajo's offices in Busan, South Korea.
 
Sajo owns 7 purse seiners, 79 long-liners and 2 motherships operating
in the Pacific.  In total, the Korean fishing industry fleet consists
of 28 purse seine vessels and 111 longline vessels catching 283,278
metric tons  and 31,458 metric tons, respectively.  Over 94% of
Korea’s total catches comes from the Pacific. It is, therefore, in the
interest of the Korean industry and government to ensure the
sustainability of Pacific tuna fisheries.
 
But like pouring salt onto a wound, for several years now the Korean
fishing industry has blocked efforts on sustainable management of
Pacific tuna.
 
It's time to draw a line against corporate greed, and we're drawing
that line here in Korea.