Yesterday saw Korea’s official announcement on its endeavour to seek its continuance of whaling in its waters, as a method in their current “scientific research” projects. Previously, the killing of the endangered species line was condemned and made illegal, through Australia’s involvement in the International Criminal Court in 1982, and saw Japan’s whaling procedures ceased.
However, an ambiguous error in the new law meant Japanese and Korean whalers could continue its operations, on the means of scientific research. Now, South Korea is claiming that their involvement in more whaling in 2013, is necessary to adhere to and succeed in further scientific revelations. The current procedures on this circumstance has seen the killing of whales for minor research experiments, with the meat then being sold for consumption to the human population.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Foreign Minister Bob Carr, and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, are demanding that South Korea reconsider their plans, stating it would be “taking a giant step backward” if whaling was again employed.
The instruction from Australian and New Zealand leaders is yet to be put forth to the South Korean government, but the ceasing of commercial and scientific research related whaling could mean a several year wait for any end result to be agreed upon.
The Korean government has assured leaders and officials that their involvement in future whaling is only of interest since the minke whale population had increased, and has become a “nuisance” in the ocean’s food chain. Though the minke abundance has become more stable, Gillard has stated that there is “no excuse for scientific whaling”.
If 2013 does see the introduction of renewed operations in whaling for South Korea, Australian environmental groups will be unable to campaign or take action toward the operations, with the waters being out of legal reach.
Bob Carr will meet with the Korean minister to discuss the matter next week.