Buoying it the right way: transitioning 6 million styrofoam buoys to a non-polluting alternative in South Korea's 200,000 ton oyster industry


South Korea is the second largest oyster producer globally after China with annual average production of 260,000 tons. Almost 80% of this total production comes from the Tongyeong region on the South Gyeongsang coast, which exports to US, Japan, Canada, Hong Kong and EU. Tongyeong is a mecca of oyster production in South Gyeongsang, with the greatest concentration of oyster cooperatives in the region.

The process of industrial oyster farming, however, can pollute the oceans. According to one research study (Shim Wonjun et al, 2015), the marine debris pollution level of the Korea coast is very high compared to other countries. In this region specifically, microplastic (


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