Target: Kang Joon-Suk, Head of the South Korean delegation to the International Whaling Commission
Goal: Reverse South Korea’s decision to allow the hunting of endangered whales
South Korea has announced plans to allow fishermen to hunt whales off its shores. This news came at a session of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Panama, and was immediately appalling to environmentalists, and adverse to efforts to ease global tensions surrounding the issue of whaling. The South Korean delegate to the IWC explained that whaling was necessary for scientific research, which is allowed in limited cases. However, environmental organizations are extremely skeptical, suspecting that South Korea’s motives do not rest in research, but in commercial whaling and the popularity of whale meat in some Korean cities.
South Korea specifically intends to hunt minke whales which are considered endangered by the IWC’s scientific committee. Korean fishermen claim that minke whales are eating the fish stocks that they rely on for a good catch. In order to assess the whales’ population numbers and feeding habits they must be killed for scientific purposes, according to Korean officials. While this explanation is paltry at best, there is already mounting evidence that South Korea is killing whales intentionally on a larger scale. The South Korean city of Ulsan is known for serving whale meat that is from accidentally caught whales. There seems to be a high rate of ‘accidentally’ caught whales among South Korea’s bycatch.
South Korea is not the only country to defy the moratorium on commercial whaling, nor is it the only country to try to use scientific research as an excuse for whaling. Norway and Denmark openly defy the moratorium, and Japan has allowed hunting under the guise of scientific research. South Korea ended their commercial whaling program and has abided by the moratorium set by the IWC since 1986. They claim they have played by the rules and are now being punished, but the only one being punished is the minke whale.
Minke whales are one of the most endangered whales swimming the oceans. By signing this petition you are demanding that South Korea reverse its decision to hunt these endangered animals.
Dear Kang Joon-Suk,
Your recent announcement that South Korea is planning to allow fishermen to hunt minke whales for scientific purposes inhibits the conservation of the minke whale and global efforts to end whaling. Fishermen complaints of minke whales threatening their livelihoods by eating their catch are not enough to warrant a hunt on the whales. If this is truly the case, there are other ways to assess the whales’ population numbers and feeding habits. Killing them is unnecessary particularly since they are considered endangered by the International Whaling Commission’s scientific committee. There are many factors that contribute to depleted fish stocks; killing whales is not the answer.
Although South Korea has abided by the moratorium on whaling until now, there is evidence to suggest that whales have been killed intentionally for regional whale meat markets over the years. There is an alarmingly high rate of whale bycactch that ends up in Korean restaurants.
Japan and others have defied that moratorium on commercial whaling, but that doesn’t make it acceptable. The minke whale needs to be conserved, not targeted. Please reverse your plans to allow whaling off your shores.
[Your Name Here]