Ulsan, host city of this year's International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting, is enthusiastically building a whale museum and a brand new marine park in anticipation. But we have uncovered plans, noticeably absent from the Ulsan council's bright and cheery website, that include a whale meat factory and whale burial ground. Is this the "city for whales", as they like to say, or the "city for whaling"?
Activists in Ulsan protest Korean plans to return to whaling.
We have set up a protest camp, or 'Whale Embassy', at the
proposedwhale meat factory site, working together with activists
from theKorean Federation for Environment Movement (KFEM). The
whale museumwith its prominently displayed harpoon boat, and a
street of whale meatrestaurants, overlook the site which is covered
in piles of rocky soil,since the marine park is still under
construction. A 12 metre highbeacon towers above the camp as a
symbol of the danger for whales.Scattered around the rocks are
large wooden whale flukes symbolisinggravestones in the "whale
The Embassy itself consists of a large green dome, inside of
whichwe have information on the plight of whales and our own
alternative"whale museum". The dome is flanked by two huge
inflatable whales,which have drawn a lot of bemused stares from
local joggers andrestaurant-owners across the street.
For their part, officials say that Korea has not yet decided
whether or not it will vote to resume whaling at this years'
"Why would the South Korean government invest in a brand new
whale anddolphin meat processing factory unless it's already
decided to rebuildits whaling industry? Let them deny it if it's
not true," said JimWickens, our oceans campaigner, from the protest
The hunting of whales is banned internationally but the South
Koreangovernment currently sanctions a national trade in the meat
of whalesand dolphins that are caught accidentally in nets.
However, governmentstatistics show around a hundred times more
whales are "accidentally"caught in Korea than in countries that do
not have a domestic whalemeat market. Scientists believe that even
the most populous whalespecies in Korean waters, minke whales, are
in serious decline becauseof this trade.
It's not just foreigners to Korea who feel that it's time for
whalingto be put in the past for good. Ye-Yong Choi, from KFEM,
"Whales in Korea's oceans, like whales everywhere, need
urgentprotection. History shows us that killing them in the name of
scienceor commerce will lead to their demise. Instead of repeating
themistakes of the past, let's protect our ocean life and make our
seas awhale sanctuary, instead of a whale cemetery."
the weblog from
the Rainbow Warrior, currently in Korea, with updates from the
"Whale Embassy". Check out the tour website at www.comebackwhales.com
Tell Korea: No whaling!
Say "no" to the whale meat factory in Korea.
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Help keep the Rainbow Warrior active against whaling.