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

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    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.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora