Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Taking advantage of a
technicality, South Korea has expressed its intention to resume whaling, the
same tactic used by neighboring Japan, which allows
to circumvent the global moratorium on grounds of "research scientific
". The decision has sparked the ire of nations
and is opposed by environmentalists, who have had to
acknowledge a setback in recent days when Tokyo
- leveraging the support of allies - buried a proposal to
create a "sanctuary" for the whales in South
Atlantic Ocean. The South Korean government has stated that it
will release "later" the number of whales it plans to kill and where,
but insists that "we will not need the approval
of foreign nations."
South Korean envoy to the annual meeting of the International Commission on Whaling recalled that the country is a "traditional consumer" of whale meat since "time immemorial". Kang Joon-suk also said that the people have lived the ban on whaling with "pain and frustration", because "traditionally they are used to feeding" on whales. Whaling is concentrated especially around the coastal city of Ulsan, where it is easy to find whale meat on menus from specimens that were "accidentally" caught in fishing nets.
The South Korean delegate also said that Seoul will whale only within the territorial waters, in contrast to Tokyo, which has attracted the barbs of Australia and New Zealand massacring hundreds of specimens each year under the pretext of an alleged "scientific research" in the Atlantic. The New Zealand Commissioner Gerard van Bohemen has accused South Korea of threatening marine populations, adding that so far the Japanese government "has not made any contribution to science" during oceanic expeditions to hunt whales.
Japan, which together with Norway and Iceland, allows whaling for commercial purposes, wants to perpetuate the predation of cetaceans, beloved on the tables of the Land of the Rising Sun. Tokyo has managed to torpedo the proposal to create a protected area in the south Atlantic Ocean, with a vote of 38 countries in favor and 21 against, two nations abstained. The regulation provides, however, that proposals must gain a quorum of two thirds. The vote was held on July 2, during the annual meeting - in Panama - of the International Commission on Whaling. According to data presented by environmental groups, more than two million whales were killed in the last century and the species are threatened with extinction.