Korea can be fisheries hub

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Korea can be fisheries hub

The first world fisheries university sponsored by the United Nations may open in Busan, southern port city of Korea, in 2018. The city beat other local candidates Jeju and South Chungcheong Province to be Korea’s choice to host the new global university, according to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries. The decision will have to be approved by the subcommittees of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in May and July and requires final approval in a convention in July next year. If everything goes to schedule, the university will be ready to open in September 2018.

The university will offer master’s and doctorate degree programs on fish-farming, maritime resources, and fisheries and maritime science studies to help advance fisheries industries in developing countries. The Korean government was involved in persuading the U.N. body to establish the institution in Korea. Korea was offering to return the benefits it had received from the FAO since 1965 to build and develop its fisheries industry.

South Korea remains a rare example of transforming itself from a beneficiary of international aid to a donator since the World War II. Korea, which imported medical skills and technology from the United States, now exports medical technology to developing countries. The central and local government’s joint fisheries venture also could set an exemple in overseas development assistance.

The presence of a world fisheries university also could allow Korea to converge and build on the advanced fish-culturing and fishing techniques around the world and advance education and training in the field. The sharing and convergence of intelligence could make Korea the hub in fisheries.

The government must establish a network among research institutions and industry to nurture a habitat of regeneration and evolution in the field. It must strengthen the alliance with Japan whose excellent fish-farming industry lost impetus since the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. Joint research and development with Japan could bring about an enormous synergy effect. We also should join
hands with China that commands a colossal fisheries market.

The establishment of a world-ranked university should give momentum to draw and groom local talents in the fisheries sector. We must use it as a stage to nurture youthful ventures in the fisheries field and use our geological advantage of being surrounded by oceans to ascend as a maritime power.

JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 20, Page 26

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