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Bottlenose dolphins © Christopher Swann

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Another Korean newspaper and another local NGO calls for a pull back on whaling plans

The Hankyoreh said it “makes no sense” to start hunting whales again.

“The government explained the need for scientific whaling by noting a significant rise in the whale population over the 26 years the ban has been in effect,” the editorial said.

“Officials have claimed that this has resulted in widespread damages that demand urgent action. But no research study to date has shown that the population has recovered enough since the ban that it would be acceptable to begin whaling again. Indeed, many say that illegal whaling and accidental catches have done enough damage to the whales’ ecosystem to offset any effects from the protective measures. In particular, the minke whale population off the Korean Coast has been the subject of special IWC protections after a sharp drop in numbers in years past.

The news paper, joining other Korean papers in condemning the decision went onto say,

A 2009 opinion poll showed 68% of South Koreans in favor of protections for whales

“It was just a few days ago that the city of Seoul, to much applause, abolished commercial dolphin shows and returned Je-dol, a dolphin that had previously been kept in captivity, to the wild. We‘re also the country that is playing host right now to an ocean-themed Expo event that is about creating a “living ocean.” Does it make any sense for us to go back to whaling?”

I would also advise taking a look at the growing opposition for the Korean envieonemntal movements. Nial Moores, Director of Birds Korea, and  recently posted on the Birds Korea blog. Birds Korea has been working on wetland and habitat conservation for many years, and was the organisation that properly detailed the effects of enclosing the huge Saemangeum tidal-flats on the Spoon-billed Sandpiper and other migratory shorebirds, and properly analyses claims of ‘sustainable development’ by the current government. The organisation has won recognition for its contributions to Korean society and has full NGO status.

Nial’s views on the issue of whaling are well worth reading.