Earth Island Institute

ECO: The environmental voice at the IWC

ECO is published by Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project at the meeting of the International Whaling Commission on behalf of environmental and animal welfare organizations around the globe.

For further information, please contact: Mark J. Palmer, Associate Director, Earth Island Institute, International Marine Mammal Project.

Previous volumes of ECO are available here.


Volume LXIV · Panama City, Panama · No. 5 · Friday July 6, 2012
Acrobat .pdf of issue

Korean Surprise: Phony Scientific Whaling Proposed

For several years, the government of South Korea has made allusions to wanting to go whaling like the Japanese. This week, the delegation of Korea surprised the Commission by announcing their own phony “scientific” whaling proposal.

Apparently, having just one country embarrassing itself globally by pursuing commercial whaling via a trumped-up research program is not enough!

Joon-Suk Kang, Chair of the South Korean delegation, made the announcement on Wednesday, amid discussion of Japan’s proposed small type coastal whaling proposal and the annual rant against the interference by Sea Shepherd against Japan’s so-called “research” whaling in the Antarctic. In fact, Korea is beginning to sound just like Japan, having voted against the Southern Atlantic Whale Sanctuary and emphasizing that coastal whaling “has much in common” with aboriginal subsistence harvests approved on Tuesday. Korea even says minke whales are eating all their fish!

Monaco’s IWC commissioner, Frederic Briand, noted: “Scientific whaling is an obsolete and sad consequence of a document drafted 60 years ago. There’s no reason to do it, given the enormous body of scientific literature obtained via non-lethal means.”

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully slammed the Korean decision as “a serious setback for those who are committed to conservation of the species.”

In response, South Korean delegate Park Jeong-Seok voiced anger at the foreign criticism, according to the New Zealand Herald.

“As a responsible member of the Commission, we do not accept any such categorical, absolute proposition that whales should not be killed or caught,” he said.

“This is not a forum for moral debate, this is a forum for legal debate. Such kind of moral preaching is not relevant or appropriate in this forum.”

Biologists note that the minke whale stock that Korea would target off their shore is one of the most depleted stocks of whales on Earth.

Environmentalists and the world will not stand for yet another misuse of both science and whales.