South Korea Plans to Resume Whale Hunt
Critics slam plan for 'scientific' whaling
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2012 12:10 AM CDT
Environmentalists stage an anti-whaling rally against Japan's whaling in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, South Korea.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

(Newser) – South Korea has announced that it plans to join Japan in hunting whales for "scientific research." The country's delegation to the International Whaling Commission said the hunt for minke whales was needed "for the proper assessment of whale stocks," but anti-whaling countries and groups charged that the hunt's real purpose would be to supply Koreans with whale meat, the BBC reports.

"Scientific whaling is an obsolete and sad consequence of a document drafted 60 years ago," said Monaco's IWC commissioner. "There's no reason to do it, given the enormous body of scientific literature obtained via non-lethal means." South Korea banned commercial whale hunting in 1986 but allows the sale of meat from whales caught accidentally in fishing nets. Local environmental groups say many of those catches are no accidents and whale meat is readily available in markets and restaurants.