South Korea took Japan’s example and asked to be granted the right of hunting whales under a scientific research program.
A delegation from South Korea said at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) that the hunting was needed “for the proper assessment of whale stocks”. It said that the hunting would take place near the Korean coast, on minke whales, but it did not specify how many whales would be hunted in the program.
Several governments present at the IWC meeting criticized harshly the South Korean initiative. One of the reasons is that in the region live several groups of minke whales, and one of them (J-stock) is severely depleted.
Scientific whaling on this stock borders is reckless, said New Zealand’s delegation head, Gerard van Bohemen.
“Scientific whaling is an obsolete and sad consequence of a document drafted 60 years ago,” said Monaco’s IWC commissioner, Frederic Briand. “There’s no reason to do it, given the enormous body of scientific literature [on cetaceans] obtained via non-lethal means.”
Joon-Suk Kang, the head of the South Korean delegation, replied that the programme was necessary to find answers about minke whale stocks that non-lethal research could not solve.