South Korea Whaling Plan Sparks Outcry
Source: Jaeyeon Woo, Wall Street Journal
South Korea's plan to resume whaling despite a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling set by the International Whaling Commission triggered fierce reactions from antiwhaling countries and environmental activists.
"I'm very disappointed by this announcement by South Korea," Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said. "We are completely opposed to whaling, there's no excuse for scientific whaling."
During the 64th annual meeting of the IWC in Panama City on Wednesday, the South Korean government cited the country's long-standing culinary culture of eating whale meat, and a need to conduct more in-depth scientific research on whales.
"In order to meet Korean fishermen's request and make up for the weak point in a nonlethal sighting survey, the Korean government is currently considering conducting whaling for scientific research in accordance with Article VIII of the Convention," said Kang Jong-suk, South Korea's delegate to the international commission. He was referring to the 1946 International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.
The Korean government will soon submit its research plan to the scientific committee of the IWC, he added.
Critics argue that whales don't have to be killed to be studied and the real motive behind the "whale research" is to provide meat.
The South Korean government follows the controversial steps of its neighbor Japan, which allows whale hunt for "research," a crack in the IWC ban that permits whale hunting for research purposes. Japan's active whale expeditions have long drawn international criticism.
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