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

British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign Jihadists More

Audio Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid