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Will Korea Allow Whaling for Research?

Posted April. 23, 2009 09:03,   


In the run-up to the general assembly of the International Whaling Commission, the Korean government plans to legalize whaling.

Ha Yeong-hyo, an official of the Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry, said yesterday, “Korea bans whaling both for research and whaling in coastal waters, but we’ll revise regulations to lift the ban on the two types of whaling. We’ll report our stance to the International Whaling Commission in June.”

The commission imposed a ban on commercial whaling of 12 endangered whale species in 1986, but has allowed certain nations to whale for research. At the same time, it has allowed certain indigenous people to hunt whales in coastal waters to help them maintain their traditional food culture.

Korea, however, has banned whaling completely. Only whales that bump against rocks or have been accidentally caught in nets are allowed to be eaten.

Seoul said legalization of whaling for research will help it to regulate illegal whaling more easily.

Not so fast, said Oh Yeong-ae, director of the Ulsan Federation of Environmental Movement. “Before going forward to legalize whaling, the government needs to launch its own research to find out the wild population of whales under international standards,” he said.