Frequently in the news, one can find an article that talks about the many regulations that are being put in place to protect whales from the dangers that fishermen present. Rarely, however, does one come across something that speaks of just the opposite. But in South Korea, that is exactly the case. The South Korean government is looking toward actively killing Minke whales in order to help protect their fishermen’s trade.
Some speculate that this is just an excuse to hunt whales for profit, the same way that Japan uses its “scientific research” loophole to kill whales and sell their meat. In fact, they’re trying to get approval for the hunts under the exact same pretext. The reality of situation is that South Korea’s fishing industry is suffering from low catches and the death of a few whales would mean less competition.
There is currently a debate going whether the whales are truly responsible for the lowered fishing catches or if it is the result of overfishing. Those in support of the whales are suggesting the latter. In addition, the whales that South Korea is looking to hunt are endangered, which should put fishing interests as secondary to their preservation. To suggest that profit is more important than maintaining an endangered population is little better than Japan trying to justify their own desire for whale meat under the guise of research.
Unfortunately, according to the rules South Korea doesn’t even need to ask approval for their actions. They can begin “scientific whaling” at any time. Their addressing the International Whaling Commission was merely a formality. Still, it’s a good sign that they did choose to take this route. Now they are obligated to wait until the commission comes up with a recommendation. Perhaps, if we are lucky, they will think again about their proposal and realize that a few fish are not worth the lives of a dying species.