NZ criticises Korean whaling plan
New Zealand has strongly criticised South Korea following an announcement it is to begin "scientific whaling" similar to that of Japan.
The BBC reported that South Korea has told the International Whaling Commission that it would hunt minke whales near the Korean coast.
The Korean delegation said the research was needed "for the proper assessment of whale stocks".
The BBC reported there were several different stocks, or groups, of minke whales in the region, and one of them, the so-called J-stock, was severely depleted.
Given that fact, "we believe that scientific whaling on this stock borders on the reckless", New Zealand's delegation head at the commission, Gerard van Bohemen, said.
Joon-Suk Kang, the head of the South Korean delegation, said the proposal was not finalised, and that whaling would not begin until plans had been discussed by an international group of expert scientists convened by the IWC.
Kang said that fishermen in the area were now complaining that a growing whale population was eating more and more fish.
Mr McCully told a media stand-up in Auckland that Korea had only expressed an intention to whale at this stage but if they went ahead with it, “I believe there will be strong and public outcry around the world.”
Asked if he supported the view of New Zealand's IWC delegation head Gerard van Bohemen that Korea was "verging on the reckless", Mr Cully said it was not a very diplomatic word to use "but it is hard to find diplomatic words in a situation like this."
He said it was a disappointing announcement for the IWC which was having significant difficulties sustaining itself.
New Zealand had tried to be a peacemaker at the IWC and resolve difficulties, particularly with Japan, but instead found itself "being used as target practice for both sides."
Mr McCully would be with the Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan next week and would raise the issue.
New Zealand already had issues with Korea damaging New Zealand’s fishing reputation with foreign charter vessels in the exclusive economic zone.
"(Whaling will) provide another topic for lively discussion," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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