South Korea announces plan to go scientific whaling
South Korea’s statement to the International Whaling Commission meeting in Panama overnight was today criticized by Humane Society International (HSI). In its Opening Statement to the Commission meeting, the Republic of Korea announced their plans to consider a scientific whaling program involving the killing of an endangered stock of whales. Minke whales are classified as part of the ‘J’ stock which is acknowledged by the Scientific Committee as an endangered species. Korea cites the fact that whales are disturbing the fishing of their commercial fishers and taking fish from humans as one of the main reasons for resuming this whaling.
‘The resumption of whaling by the Republic of Korea is outrageous” said Michael Kennedy, Director of HSI. “The reasons provided by Korea to the International Whaling Commission are simply convenient excuses to justify the whaling that never properly ceased under the moratorium.”
Korean fishermen have ‘whaled’ using the ‘inadvertent by-catch’ rule for many years. Korea reported a catch of 458 minke whales during the five years encompassing 1999 to 2003, but genetic testing of whale meat in Korean markets suggests that as many as 827 individual animals were taken through this loophole. In addition, over the past year an additional 21 minke whales have been harpooned, for which they have been fined under Korean law.
Mr Kennedy continued, “HSI calls on the Republic of Korean Government to reconsider this plan, and to take up the Australian Government’s offer to provide them with further assistance and guidance on non-lethal research.”