DHAKA: South Korea says it will start whaling under a loophole in a global moratorium that allows scientific research, outraging conservationist nations by using the same tactic as Japan.
At sometimes heated talks of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Panama on Wednesday, South Korea said it would announce later how many whales it would kill and when but insisted that it did not need foreign approval.
Kang Joon-Suk, South Korea`s head envoy, said consumption of whale meat "dates back to historical times" in his country and that the minke whale population had recovered since a 1986 global moratorium went into effect.
"Legal whaling has been strictly banned and subject to strong punishments, though the 26 years have been painful and frustrating for the people who have been traditionally taking whales for food," he told the conference.
Whale meat remains popular in the South Korean coastal town of Ulsan, which serves meat from whales "accidentally" caught in nets. Activists have voiced suspicion that whales are often killed deliberately under the guise of accidents.
Kang said South Korea would conduct whaling in its own waters - in contrast to Japan, which infuriates Australia and New Zealand by killing hundreds of whales a year under the guise of research in Antarctic waters.
New Zealand`s commissioner, Gerard van Bohemen, charged that South Korea would also be putting whale populations at risk and said that Japan had not contributed to science after years of expeditions.
South Korea`s plan is "unnecessary and borders on the reckless. New Zealand is strongly opposed to Korea`s proposal," he said.
Monaco`s envoy Frederic Briand, a marine scientist and veteran conservationist, said that the Commission`s allowance for scientific killing reflected research methods from when the body was set up in 1946.
BDST: 0850 HRS, July 5, 2012
All rights reserved. Sale, redistribution or reproduction of information/photos/illustrations/video/audio contents on this website in any form without prior permission from banglanews24.com are strictly prohibited and liable to legal action.