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Revival of rural economy

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By Mark Peterson

I wrote in November of a trip to visit a traditional village in the rural countryside. I was quite pessimistic and titled my article, "Death of Korea's Villages." Today I'm going to write about the opposite phenomenon. I recently visited Wando and Gangjin on the south coast of Korea to find they are thriving rural communities.

What was the difference? Aquaculture. Farming at sea.

I was guided around Wando and Gangjin by a man who has helped develop aquaculture in the area, Dr. Yi Young-ho. He has a Ph.D. in fisheries science from Pusan Fisheries University, but his high school was in his hometown of Wando, The Wando Fisheries High School. He has worked in the state-run fisheries advisory agencies and set up several research stations in the area. But his most influential work was as a National Assemblyman, in the 17th National Assembly at the time of Roh Moo-hyun.

As we visited various research centers, farmers' advisory centers, and aquafarms, I was surprised how everybody knew him and greeted him so cheerfully and with obvious appreciation. For example we visited an abalone hatchery. It was on land, and in a large building, covered with a translucent ceiling, enclosing several large tanks, each about........

© The Korea Times