News / Asia

Environmentalists Condemn South Korean Whale-Hunting Plan

Protesters stand on the street with placards reading "Beep your horn for the Whales" outside the building where the International Whaling Commission is being held during this week in Panama City, July 4, 2012.
Protesters stand on the street with placards reading "Beep your horn for the Whales" outside the building where the International Whaling Commission is being held during this week in Panama City, July 4, 2012.
Jason Strother
SEOUL — Environmental activists in South Korea are condemning a government plan to hunt an endangered species of whales for scientific research. Some activists say the plan is a disguise to engage in commercial whaling.

South Korea announced its intentions Wednesday at a meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Panama.

Joon-Suk Kang, the head of the South Korean delegation, said the program was necessary to answer questions about minke whale stocks that non-lethal research had been unable to solve.

He told delegates the hunt of minke whales would take place near the Korean coast, but did not specify how many animals it plans to catch.

The announcement was immediately condemned by anti-whaling nations, including Australia and New Zealand. Environmentalists also criticized the plan.  Han Jung-hee, who heads the Oceans campaign at Green Peace’s Seoul chapter, said the plan is an excuse to engage in commercial whaling.

"Its really regretful to hear that the Korean government is considering conducting scientific whaling," he said. "Scientific whaling is thinly disguised commercial whaling. Japan is the only country at the moment doing scientific whaling and Korea is just trying to follow that."

South Korea is said to have a long history of whaling. Cave paintings found on the south coast depict whale hunts. But hunting and consumption did not really pick up until the late 19th century.

Every year, the South Korean town of Ulsan holds a festival that recreates those whaling expeditions. Visitors there are encouraged to drop by local restaurants that feature whale meat on the menu.

The International Whaling Commission imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986 out of concern for the survival of the species.  Now, some South Korean fishermen say their livelihoods have been hurt by expanding minke whale herds that eat what would have been their catch.

An official from South Korea's Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, who asked not to be named, says the proposal to conduct scientific research is aimed at resolving that problem.
Limited whaling for scientific research is allowed under the moratorium.  So far only Japan has continued the practice under this exception.

Whaling critics have scoffed at Japan's research claims, noting that whale meat from the hundreds of whales harvested in the hunt is sold to the Japanese public.

South Korea is now waiting for the International Whaling Commission to approve their scientific whaling proposal.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Matthew from: Los Angeles
July 05, 2012 11:39 AM
South Korea:

2 steps forward, one giant leap back.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid