TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec 5, 2012) - The Republic of Korea has abandoned its plans to resume whaling, following international outcry.
Tens of thousands of people around the world, many of them IFAW supporters, emailed the Korean government in protest after it announced its intention to begin so-called scientific whaling at July''s International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Panama City, Panama.
The deadline for submitting its formal proposal, December 3, passed with no official announcement from the government, but IFAW has now learned that the Republic of Korea has opted instead to pursue non-lethal research.
Patrick Ramage, Director of IFAW''s Global Whale Programme, said: "The government of Korea made the right call and should be commended for it. Whaling in the name of science is unnecessary and killing whales for commercial purposes is a proven ethical, ecological and economic loser in the 21st Century.
"We stand ready to support the Republic of Korea in whatever appropriate way as it embarks on state-of-the-art, non-lethal whale research in Korean waters."
Korea has not hunted whales since 1986, but each year there is a substantial bycatch (entanglement in fishing gear) of whales in Korean waters. The government has taken a strong position against illegal whaling and also spoke at IWC of its plans to build capacity for whale watching.
IFAW believes scientific whaling is merely commercial whaling by another name and opposes all commercial whaling as being inherently cruel, unnecessary and unsustainable. Responsible whale watching is the only sustainable ''use'' of whales.
Notes to Editors -
About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
The whales that would have been exploited by scientific whaling, J-stock minke whales, are considered endangered by the IWC scientific committee. In addition, bycatch averages 150-200 whales per year. Some of these whales face an additional threat as they are also taken in Japanese waters. The population is predicted to decline further if current bycatch levels continue.