Fulbright Forum – September 16, 2011

Grace Ha

Haenyeo, Jeju, and the Future of Marine Conservation

On Jeju Island, fisherwomen, known widely today as haenyeo (해녀), have a long-standing tradition of free-diving into the ocean for seafood such as abalone, kelp, seaweed, sea cucumber, turban shell, and octopus. Over the past year, Grace has been researching these women and the Jeju fishing villages, focusing largely on their traditional ecological knowledge and resource management techniques. Grace has been specifically investigating what implications this disappearing way-of-life may have on future marine conservation efforts.


Graduating from Cornell University with a biology degree in 2010, Grace developed a deep interest in marine biology and environmental conservation during her undergraduate studies. While reading a marine biology textbook (for fun) one summer, she happened upon a small paragraph about haenyeo that piqued her curiosity and consequently led to her Fulbright project on traditional ecological knowledge. In the future, she hopes to earn her doctorate in marine ecology and to become a scientist and teacher working towards a deeper understanding of our ocean ecosystems.