Korea: Drop Plans to Kill Whales!

Conservationists have urged Korea to announce that it will abandon its plans for  whaling.  Korea is oneof the countries attending the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress, currently taking place in Jeju, Korea.  It would be an ideal venue.

Korea announced plans earlier this summer at a meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to take Japan’s lead and use a loophole that allows for scientific research whaling and would allow it to target an unspecified number of endangered J-stock minke whales in the Sea of Japan under Article VIII of the Convention.

After receiving global backlash from anti-whaling nations and animal advocacy groups following its announcement, Korean officials backed off the decision, but they haven’t formally rejected the plans.

“There is a certain irony that at the same time Korea is hosting this vital international conservation congress, it could be planning to train its harpoons on an endangered whale population,” said Patrick Ramage, Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW) Global Whale Program. “We urge Korea to state publicly and categorically that it is abandoning its ill-thought out whaling plans.”

Korea doesn’t currently allow for either commercial or scientific whaling, but does allow the sale of whales that are accidentally caught in fishing nets. According to the IUCN,  the reported number of whales that die in fishing nets every year is 80-100, but genetic sampling has led Scientific Committee to believe that the actual bycatch number is double, or around 150-200 annually.

The IUCN doesn’t believe that current catch levels are sustainable or that any significant information would be gained from killing more whales. They issued a statement urging Korea to “reconsider the plans to resume scientific whaling, and instead to continue to support non-lethal whale research in Korean waters.”

In 2011, there were 21 known cases of illegal whaling and some believe it never really stopped.

“In 2009, Korea and Japan accounted for over 80% of the [global] large whale by-catch,” Jeonghee Han Greenpeace’s oceans campaigner for East Asia told the BBC. “That’s why we suspect that it’s not purely by-catch; these two countries eat whales.”

According to IFAW, an adult minke whale is worth $100,000 (USD). The group “believes that so-called scientific whaling is merely commercial whaling by another name, producing sham science which is not taken seriously by the reputable scientific community.” Others, including Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, agree.

“We believe this move is a thinly veiled attempt by Korea to conduct commercial whaling under the guise of scientific research, similar to hunts conducted by Japan in the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary,” Wendy Elliott, head of WWF’s delegation to the whaling commission told CNN.

Korea has until December to submit its proposal for scientific whaling to the IWC.


Related Stories:

New App Could Help Save Endangered Whales

Whale Meat Illegally Sold to Tourists in Greenland

Tsunami Recovery Funds Subsidize Japanese Whale Hunt


Photo credit: Thinkstock


Rosemary Lowe

The Japanese government is trying to bribe Korea to joint the ranks of the barbaric excuse of "research whaling." What appalls me is that on the above "Quick Poll" on Korea's plans to start whaling: the poll presently shows 1% of those polled think Korea should be allowed to hunt whales. Maybe the word "think" is the problem, eh? Do such humans even think?
Please remember, bloggers, that the U.S. is also complicit in the whaling industry. Our society is degraded and often "immoral" as it sets the tone for the rest of the world's societies. We here in the U.S. are not removed from barbarity, we are not innocent. This country still allows the slaughter (under the guise of "subsistence whaling" which does not exist in today's world. When so-called "indigenous" people use electronic devices, snowmobiles, modern-day weapons, with motorized boats, the whole activity is another barbaric falsehood. We humans should not be slaughtering any non-humans, period, in a world where Climate Change is rapidly increasing, and where human population is totally out of bounds, and biodiversity is going down the tubes.
It is our species that is out of control. It started a long, long time ago, (eons),when we started making weapons for spears. We are the Rogue Species, and Planet Earth is sick of us.

Frans Badenhorst
Frans B4 years ago

thanks for posting Alicia - the love of money stays a problem, all over the world...

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Rosemary Lowe

There is no such thing as "research whaling." It is nothing but a cruel facade to hunt down whales and dolphins for some perceived notion of making a buck. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is on its way to the southern ocean to stop the Japanese whale killers. We must not allow Korea to start such an atrocity. Is our species insane? I do believe so.

Haleene W.
Haleene Williams5 years ago

It's not just a matter of killing off life because of over populating consumption, it is wasting as much as what is really used. Add the two together and you will have life killed off and man will be wondering what happen?
The Koreans have short term thought processing, and no plans on how to replenish want they take from a already depleting ocean. We replace trees that we cut and fish need to be replaced when we take them from the sea, which should be better regulated through joint decisions made by oceannautic scientist in each country.
The selfish and short sided will suffer for their decisions in the end, but then so will we all.

Antje F.
a f5 years ago

If the Koreans think they want to study whales by killing them - the Japanese excuse - then, instead, they should just ask to SEE the supposed lab results that the Japanese CLAIM to be collecting with each whale kill. If there are no research results, then the Japanese must be lying about what they ACTUALLY want the whales for. HOWEVER, GOOD RESEARCHERS use LIVE subjects whenever possible, and it can be done with whales too - skin shed is collected for DNA study, whale poop is collected for obvious reasons. All Koreans have to do is ASK RESPONSIBLE RESEARCHERS how to work. They should think twice about killing devoted mothers and then killing babies. The whales reproduce so slowly that allowing more hunting is just NOT RIGHT. HUMANS, on the other hand, keep reproducing in unpresidented speed, killing the food supply faster than IT can reproduce, or be sustained on land. They are wiping out large populations of sea life that is food for other sea life and wildlife and contaminating plant life on land with GMOs or have crops flooded away by poor planning, or droughts or other blights. This planet earth can only sustain a certain amount of life. If we kill any part of it, we will be killing ourselves, in the long run.

Beth M.
Beth M5 years ago

If global backlash is what it took to get them to stop, we just need to keep up the pressure.

Carrie Anne Brown

very sad news if this goes ahead but thanks for sharing

Georgia Armstrong
Georgia a5 years ago

TO Mark D: Many years ago I actually thought Japan and China were great centers of "civilization". Boy, was I ever fooled. And research, my butt. All of those whales will end up on someone's plate. Hope they all get a hearty case of food poisoning.

Amy Stotler
Amy Stotler5 years ago

It amazes me that this is even still an issue. Shouldn't it be common knowledge by now that this is unnecessary and wrong?