The International Whaling Commission is in uproar after South Korea’s decision to resume scientific whaling. It caps a meeting in Panama that also failed to approve a South Atlantic sanctuary.
Korea wants to resume hunting Minke whales, considered endangered by the World Wildlife Fund.
Environmentalists complain scientific whaling is commercial fishing in disguise. Seoul was one of the first countries to use the treaty clause to get round the IWC’s 1986 global moratorium, but after intense international pressure stopped the following year.
“I am very disappointed by this announcement by South Korea. We are completely opposed to whaling. There’s no excuse for scientific whaling, and I’ve instructed our ambassador in South Korea to raise this matter today at the highest levels of government,” said Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Australia, New Zealand and conference hosts Panama condemned what they called some of the summiteer’s “wrecking” tactics, and unscientific claims of growing whale populations that were eating too many fish.