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A Cooperative Fish Story

In South Korea, fishermen benefit from a federated effort


The principle behind the Korean National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative is simple: “One person works for ten thousand people and ten thousand people work for one.”

A fishing cooperative plays an important part in the economy of South Korea.

Formed in 1962, the cooperative represents the heart of the South Korean fishing industry. It’s a financial institution and an extension service, conducting mutual finance and cooperative insurance, while working to revitalize fishing villages in a country of 52 million.

Known in South Korea as Suhyup, the cooperative follows the principle of Concern for Community by identifying outstanding fishing village leaders who have helped develop their communities and awarding them the New Fisherman Award and other accolades. It reaches into gender equity by supporting women’s universities and supporting specialized education courses to develop the capabilities of female fishermen, an increasingly important segment of the fishing economy.

It must be working. Statistics from 2018 show the nation produced 3.6 million tons of fish as the seafood sector accounted for 167,000 jobs. “The fisheries industry has played a significant role in making Korea one of the largest economies in the world, and Suhyup has been at the center of it,” says Chairman Im Joon-Taek.