Greenpeace and Korean environmental group KFEM have joined forces to save whales in Korea.
KFEM has recently launched its own domestic campaign to oppose
allforms of whaling, and its 52 local offices are busy working to
raiseawareness on the issues that surround the plight of whales and
Together, we aim to jointly inform the Korean public and
governmentthat whales in Korean waters are some of the most
threatened in theworld and, like all whales, are in need of urgent
Warrior was greeted by an incredible spectacle: a percussionband, a
Buddhist monk, Korean Environment Minister Mr Kwak Kyeoul Ho,Korean
women in traditional dress who danced a welcome and children
whopresented the crew with "I love whales" t-shirts.
While Korea has no official whaling programme, if a whale or
dolphinis found dead in a fishing net, it can be sold on the open
market forhuge prices - in 2004 the average price paid for a mature
minke whalewas US$100 000. It is perhaps no coincidence therefore,
that Korea hassome of the highest cetacean bycatch incidents in the
world, secondonly to Japan.
biologists aboard the Rainbow Warrior will conduct a whalesurvey
from Incheon to the southern island of Cheju, to document
thedecline in whale populations and sound a warning bell against a
returnto commercial whaling.
Also aboard will be Greenpeace cyberactivist Yewon Kim, a member
ofour online community who has volunteered to keep a weblog aboard
theship to relate her experience in Korean.
It is not commonly known in Korea that whales are under threat
orthat they are anything other than 'big fish.' It is vital that we
raiseawareness before this year's International Whaling Commission
meeting,scheduled to take place in Ulsan, an old whaling port in
the southeast.The meeting is already being widely publicized in
Korea with billboardadvertisements across Seoul.
Whaling Commission voted in 1985 to place a moratorium oncommercial
whaling. That moratorium has been under concerted attack byJapan
and other whaling nations for several years now. Votes for
andagainst the moratorium are neck and neck. If Korea sides with
thewhaling lobby this year, as it has done in the past, it could
mean theresumption of whaling worldwide. We are calling for the
Koreangovernment to 'vote for whales, not whaling' at the IWC in
June, and bydoing so, send out a clear message to the world that
they are seriousabout the protecting the whales and the health of
the oceans that theyinhabit.
Korean waters were traditionally home to dolphins,
finlessporpoises, humpback whales, orcas, minkes and the Western
Pacific or'Korean' Gray whales - the most endangered whale species
in the world,whose population numbers only 100 of which only 25 are
also many in Korea, especially in the southeast, who would like
tosee a return to whaling, and with a whale processing
infrastructure andappetite for whalemeat already in place, the
Korean government couldconceivably announce a plan to take up
Under a loophole in International Whaling Commission rules,
thekilling of whales for research purposes is allowed, and Japan,
Norway,and Iceland currently use 'scientific' whaling programmes to
producewhalemeat in commercial quantities.
Over the next few weeks, we'll be providing more information
andaction opportunities by which you can help ensure Korea doesn't
returnto whaling. Our campaigners, crew, marine biologists, and
cyberactivistYewon Kim will be keeping a weblog of their
Yewon Kim ended up on a Greenpeace
shipbecause she signed up as a Greenpeace Cyberactivist. If you'd
like tobe a part of Greenpeace's online community, register here.It's
free! You'll get a a monthly e-zine chock full of things to do
tohelp our planet, plus a free homepage. You'll also be able to
exchangeviews with other members at our cybercentre's online
message board. Inthe past, cyberactivists have travelled to the
Amazon, China, andIceland to help us with our campaign work. You
may be next. Register