Photo via The Guardian
South Korea’s recent announcement to resume whale hunting for scientific purposes triggered an outcry from environmental activists, according to news reports.
“We believe this move is a thinly veiled attempt by Korea to conduct commercial whaling under the guise of scientific research, similar to hunts conducted by Japan in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary,” said Wendy Elliott, head of World Wildlife Fund’s delegation to the whaling commission.
A statement from the South Korean delegation to the International Whaling Commission announced ongoing work on a proposal to hunt minke whales for scientific purposes.
“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.
Photo via SBS (Australia)
South Korea has banned commercial whaling for more than 25 years but a loophole in the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling would allow South Korea to hunt whales for scientific research. Anti-whaling countries such as New Zealand and Australia are speaking out.
“I am very disappointed by this announcement by South Korea,” Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia said to CNN. “We are completely opposed to whaling; there’s no excuse for scientific whaling.”
Korea has had a longstanding tradition of eating whale meat, but the industry has dwindled since the 1986 moratorium, according to the Wall Street Journal.