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South Korea wants to resume whaling

The tail of a humpback whale emerges from the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

Jeff Horwich: South Korea says it wants to resume whaling -- in its own domestic waters. The country made the proposal at a gathering of the International Whaling Commission, which is meeting now in Panama.

Here's Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman.


Mitchell Hartman: There’s been an international ban on whaling since 1986. But Japan has skirted the moratorium by continuing what it calls scientific whaling, allegedly to monitor whale populations and their impact on the country’s fishing industry. 

Now, South Korea is angling to do the same thing. South Korean officials propose to conduct scientific whaling in the country’s own coastal waters. They say a resumption of whaling is needed to determine if endangered minke whales are depleting commercial fish stocks.

England’s environment minister, Richard Benyon, condemned the move.

Richard Benyon: I think that it’s commercial whaling by any other name. Japan already carries out allegedly scientific whaling, which we all know involves the death of a great number of whales. We don’t want to see any other country start this, and we want the moratorium to stay in place, and for countries not to try to find ways around it by dressing it up as scientific.

Whale meat is considered a delicacy in South Korea, and a limited amount is available in markets there from whales that wash ashore or are accidentally caught in fish nets. 

I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

Jeff Horwich: South Korea says it wants to resume whaling -- in its own domestic waters. The country made the proposal at a gathering of the International Whaling Commission, which is meeting now in Panama.

Here's Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman.


 

Mitchell Hartman: There’s been an international ban on commercial whaling since 1986. But Japan has skirted the moratorium by continuing what it calls scientific whaling -- allegedly to monitor whale populations and their impact on the fishing industry. 

Now, South Korea is angling to do the same. South Korean officials want to be allowed to conduct scientific whaling in the country’s coastal waters. They say a resumption of whaling is needed to determine if endangered minke whales are depleting commercial fish stocks.

England’s environment minister, Richard Benyon, condemned the move.

Richard Benyon: I think that it’s commercial whaling by another name. Japan already carries out allegedly scientific whaling, which we all know creates the death of a great number of whales. We don’t want to see any other country start this, and we want the moratorium to stay in place, and for countries not to try to find ways around it by dressing it up as scientific.

Whale meat is considered a delicacy in South Korea, and a limited amount is available in markets there, from whales that wash ashore or are "accidentally" caught in fish nets. 

I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

 

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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