From the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute's newsletter -
The translation follows:(Note: Ji-su translated this into English and Steve edited Ji-su's English translation.)
Foreigner Haenyeo, Sherrin Hibbard
(Hansupul Haenyeo Hakgyo 2nd graduate – Sherrin Hibbard)
"If describing Sherrin in one word, it would be "energizer." The passion and energy comes from her expressive face and her hand actions. By sitting with her, she is not Lee Hyori but we get pulled into her attraction."
Sherrin left home when she was 18 and travelled to Norfolk Island, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and others. She sailed from Japan to Papua New Guinea and before coming to Korea she was the manager of a Papua New Guinea shipping company. She is a traveler who doesn't know what settling down means, a human nomad.
She is currently teaching English at one middle school in Jeju. As the 2nd graduate of Hansupul Haenyo Hakgyo, and as the first foreigner, she participated in the Jeju Muljil competition May 11th. However, Sherrin who is more interested in picking up garbage along the sea than diving, is working on a campaign project to make Jeju's sea cleaner. We met Sherrin who is training hard for swimming around Jeju.
Q. Have you ever heard of the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute?
Sure, for the survival of the sea, National Fisheries Research and Development Institute takes a very important role. I hope the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute can bring awareness about fisheries resources maintenance. It is in an important position where it can help people know about the fisheries, buying fish and people making the right decisions. The consumer's power is strong but in order to have a positive effect they need to get information.
Q. How did you enter the Haenyeo Hakgyo?
Australia doesn't have any Haenyeo. This is a unique job only in Japan and Korea. Also, because I was a fisherman myself, I was curious as to what the ladies who make a living out of the sea is like, and entered Haenyeo Hakgyo. We learned how to use the equipment in the sea and getting used to the sea. Most of the students for the first time in their life wore the Haenyeo suit and wore fins to swim.
Q. As a fishermen, you have a lot to tell the Korean fishermen?
I was a fisherman in Australia for 12 years. I have witnessed what overfishing's effects are to the sea. I want to tell the Korean fishermen that they should stop thinking about what they will catch today and focus on what they will catch 5 years later. They should ask themselves what role they are taking for exhausting marine resources and how much they are ruining the habitat and ecosystem loss.
Q. For what purpose are you swimming around Jeju?
The Jeju Big Swim is a campaign for protecting the Jeju sea environment. We have to choose to minimize the damage that we cause to the sea. This is something we all can do and it's just a matter of choice. My friend Steve Oberhauser will accompany me on a kayak. He is from America and he came to Jeju in 2008. He worked as a journalist and teacher and likes whitewater rafting and kayaking. So I will swim, and Steve will kayak. It's going to be roughly 200 kilometers, and will take about 30 days.
Q. Is there any Korean behavior you can't understand?
I don't understand how Korean people know they are doing something wrong and they still are treating the environment badly. For example, illegally burning plastic. Garbage disposal is a big problem. For the future generation we have to give them the right example and teach them.
-Ji-su's writing, Steve (editing only)