Target: President Park Geun-hye the Republic of Korea
Goal: Close a loophole that allows the legal sale of whale meat from whales that are caught accidentally.
Under Korean law, whaling is illegal. However, fisherman can legally sell the meat of whales caught and killed accidentally if they submit the body for inspection by the coastguard. As with every country that has agreed to ban whaling, South Korea must report how many whales were accidentally caught per year to the International Whaling Commission. The number of whales accidentally caught by South Korean fisherman every year has consistently remained between 80 to 100, ten times higher than most other countries. What’s more, according to the nonprofit Whale and Dolphin Conservation, the number reported is likely half the actual amount.
The current system lets fishermen sell the meat of whales to restaurants, which presents an opportunity for fishermen to also sell illegally caught whale meat. This is particularly advantageous as legal meat is often less fresh than illegal meat, and a single whale can net a fisherman up to $85,000. There is evidence that, due to the loophole in the law, the illegal whaling industry is flourishing in South Korea. Even as demand for whale meat is rising in the country, the price of whale meat keeps falling. There have also been reports of fisherman equipping their ships with harpoons, and some fisherman even catch whales at night. Sign our petition and demand that President Park Geun-hye close the loophole, ending the cruel practice of whaling forever.
Dear President Park,
While demand for whale meat is rising in the the Republic of Korea, the price of whale meat is falling. This indicates that the supply of whale meat is increasing. However, the number of whales that were accidentally caught by South Korea has remained largely stable. Since bycaught whale meat is the only legal whale meat, it is clear that there is growth in illegal whaling in your nation. This is disturbing and would contravene South Korea’s commitments to the international ban on whaling.
The existence of a legal market for whale meat has produced incentives for illegal whaling, as well encouraged laundering of illegally caught whale meat. Furthermore, it has contributed to significantly higher rates of accidentally caught whales in South Korea than most other countries. I urge you to close the loophole allowing the sale of whale meat caught accidentally. It is the only way to uphold South Korea’s commitments under the moratorium on whaling and to prevent the cruel practice of harpoon whaling.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Martin Cathrae