South Korea Ditches ‘Scientific’ Whaling Plans

Seoul, South Korea — South Korea dropped its highly criticized plan to resume “scientific” whaling as a means of studying the aquatic mammals on Wednesday, opting instead for a “no-kill” approach.

South Korea made its announcement to resume whaling during an International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in July. Using a loophole in a global moratorium that permits the killing of whales for “scientific” research, according to ChannelNewsAsia, Seoul noted what it called a significant rise in the population of the whales in its waters which may pose a threat to squid and fish stocks.

The plan came under criticism by many countries and environmental groups. Prime Minister Kim Hwang-Sik received thousands of letters from individuals urging to drop their plan to begin whaling again. Weeks later reports began to come in that South Korea was reconsidering its plan to resume scientific whaling.

The decision to dump the scientific whaling plan became official when South Korea had not submitted the required formal proposal to the IWC by the December 3 deadline.

An official for the fisheries ministry told the Associated Free Press:

“We’ve decided to carry out ‘no-kill’ scientific research and, therefore, it became unnecessary to submit such a request.”

a fisheries ministry official is quoted by the Korea Herald as saying:

“After gathering opinions from various sides, the government is now in the process of finalizing its plan to study whales through non-lethal techniques, like many other countries such as Australia do.”

On Wednesday, Greenpeace welcomed the country’s decision to instead adopt a non-lethal means of studying the whales within its waters. Greenpeace International oceans campaigner John Frizell stated:

“The world does not support commercial whaling, even when it is disguised as scientific research … The decision by South Korea to listen to its own people and the global community and abandon a whaling program modeled on that of Japan is a huge win for the world’s whales.”

Japan uses the same loophole considered by South Korea, killing whales for “scientific research,” even though the meat is later sold openly in shops and restaurants.

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