South Korea has announced plans to begin hunting minke whales for scientific purposes at the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
WSPA, along with governments from around the world, condemned the announcement.
Claire Bass, Oceans Campaign Leader for WSPA said: “This is extremely bad news. We believe there's absolutely no need to kill whales in the name of science and that all we need to find out about whales can be done using non lethal means. This is a big step backwards for the IWC that another country has decided to start doing this wholly unnecessary and cruel practice.”
WSPA has been at the forefront of efforts to promote the protection of whales from the cruel, unnecessary and outdated practice of hunting.
A step backwards
This bad news follows the recent announcement that a move to create a South Atlantic whale sanctuary had been rejected by the IWC.
Despite 65% of member countries voting in favour of creating a sanctuary, the move needed the backing of 75% of members in order to pass. The sanctuary was put forward by a group of Latin American countries, but was strongly opposed by pro-whaling nations including Japan and Norway.
Currently there are two whale sanctuaries created under the IWC: the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean. Japan disregards the Southern Ocean Sanctuary and conducts a so-called ‘scientific’ whale hunt there, with the meat sold commercially.
Claire Bass added: “The opposition to this sanctuary from three commercial whaling countries and their allies is outrageous and unjustified. The rejection of the proposal for this sanctuary denies protection for the 54 species of cetaceans in this region.”
WSPA will continue to report back from its work at this year’s IWC meeting in Panama City.