South Korea has backed off its plan to resume lethal Japanese-style "scientific" whaling expeditions in its coastal waters, in the face of an international outcry, the Guardian reports. Instead, it will use non-lethal methods to study the massive mammals. The International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, but Japan has gotten around the restriction through a loophole allowing whales to be hunted for scientific research—and then sold for meat once research is completed.
An official from South Korea's fishing ministry said the department decided to switch to non-lethal methods "after gathering opinions from various sides." The plan had drawn a chorus of condemnation, including a petition that garnered more than a million responses in three weeks. "The world does not support commercial whaling, even when it is disguised as scientific research," a Greenpeace activist said. (Read more whaling stories.)