South Korea’s totally selfless plan to save fish from whales

The machinations of the countries on the International Whaling Commission are always fun to follow for displays of unvarnished political cynicism. (Funny how small island nations suddenly decide they feel strongly about whaling rights after Tokyo increases their aid packages.) The big news this year is that South Korea is looking to join in the ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
DAVID HANCOCK/AFP/Getty Images
DAVID HANCOCK/AFP/Getty Images
DAVID HANCOCK/AFP/Getty Images

The machinations of the countries on the International Whaling Commission are always fun to follow for displays of unvarnished political cynicism. (Funny how small island nations suddenly decide they feel strongly about whaling rights after Tokyo increases their aid packages.) The big news this year is that South Korea is looking to join in the international whaling club, (which includes Iceland, Norway and Japan) using Japanese-style "scientific whaling" as a rationale. The FT reports

Seoul’s ministry of agriculture and fisheries said on Thursday that scientific research was badly needed to protect local fishermen from the damage that the increasing number of whales inflicts on fish stocks. It added that it would submit its scientific whaling plan to the International Whaling Commission’s scientific committee next year and accept the committee’s decision.

Ah yes, it's those nasty whales who are depleting Pacific fish stocks rather than, say, conveyer belt sushi joints.

The machinations of the countries on the International Whaling Commission are always fun to follow for displays of unvarnished political cynicism. (Funny how small island nations suddenly decide they feel strongly about whaling rights after Tokyo increases their aid packages.) The big news this year is that South Korea is looking to join in the international whaling club, (which includes Iceland, Norway and Japan) using Japanese-style "scientific whaling" as a rationale. The FT reports

Seoul’s ministry of agriculture and fisheries said on Thursday that scientific research was badly needed to protect local fishermen from the damage that the increasing number of whales inflicts on fish stocks. It added that it would submit its scientific whaling plan to the International Whaling Commission’s scientific committee next year and accept the committee’s decision.

Ah yes, it’s those nasty whales who are depleting Pacific fish stocks rather than, say, conveyer belt sushi joints.

The BBC’s Richard Black writes

The Korean "whales eat fish" argument is one of the most easily debunked in the book, and I’m sure the Koreans know it – as must the Japanese officials who used to deploy it as a justification for whaling.  

South Korea already has a scheme in place in which whales "accidentally" snared in fisherman’s nets can be legally sold to markets and restaurants. 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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