South Korea is considering hunting whales in the waters off its shores for scientific purposes, drawing condemnation from environmental groups.
Citing calls from fishermen for a resumption of limited whaling, the head of the South Korean delegation to the International Whaling Commission, Kang Joon-suk, said Wednesday that Seoul was working on a proposal to hunt minke whales migrating off the Korean Peninsula.
Korean fishermen complain that the whales are disrupting their fishing activities and eating fish stocks, Kang said at the commission's annual meeting in Panama.
Nonlethal measures are not enough to assess the whales' numbers and feeding habits, he said.
But environmental organizations are skeptical about the South Korean explanation.
"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," said Wendy Elliott, head of WWF's delegation to the whaling commission.FULL STORY