South Korean Government scraps whale meat factory on eve of hosting IWC

Press release - 15 June, 2005
"Greenpeace and KFEM are greatly encouraged by news released today in the South Korean publication, The Hankyoreh, that plans to build a whale meat factory in Ulsan, South Korea have been scrapped.

If these reports are true, Greenpeace and KFEM welcome the South KoreanGovernment's courageous move. By scrapping the planned whale meatfactory, the South Korean Government is showing that it does notsupport whaling, and it does not wish to follow in the footsteps of theJapanese Government in their determination to destroy the world'sdwindling numbers of whales. We hope that this move towards whaleprotection will be extended to the IWC, and that the South KoreanGovernment will now vote in favour of whale protection and vote againsta resumption of commercial whaling."

Other contacts: Mhairi Dunlop, Greenpeace International Press Officer: +82 10 22 33 07 53Jim Wickens, International Oceans Campaigner +82 10 22 33 07 60Choi, Ye-yong, KFEM (Korean Federation for Environmental Movements) +82 164 587488

VVPR info: For further information on the KFEM and Greenpeace campaign to protect whales, see:

Notes: - Images of the whales being cut up on the street are available from Greenpeace International Images on + 31 20 718 2058- Ulsan City Council planned to build a whale meat processing plant in Jangsaengpo, Ulsan. The factory plant was due to be built in the autumn of 2005 after the construction of the Cetacean Research Centre is finished.- Scientific evidence shows that whales are in serious decline in Korean waters, because of over-fishing and high incidents of `accidental' by-catch, amongst other threats. In 2003 alone, Korea "accidentally" caught in excess of 84 whales, compared to less than five per year in non-whaling nations. Dead whales are sold for prices up to $100 000 on the legal whale meat market.- Countries represented at the embassy include Germany, UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Italy see city and Greenpeace still at loggerheads Written by Kim, Kwang-suThe HankyorehIn the face of strong opposition from environmental groups including Greenpeace, Ulsan city, which is hosting the 57th IWC annual conference, has scrapped its plan to build a whale meat-processing facility to handle whales either accidentally caught or caught for scientific research. Still the tension between the city and the international organization has not dissipated, because the group demands that the city should put its decision in writing.Sources confirmed on June 14 that the city recently conveyed its position to Greenpeace that if Greenpeace stopped saying that Korea was support whaling, the city would not go out of its way to build the facility in Jangsangpo.Locals in Jansangpo, which was a whaling center of Korea before the moratorium on commercial whaling, had requested the city to build the facility to kick-start the local economy. The city had agreed to the proposal and planned to spend 500 million won on the construction of the facility including a sewage treatment plant.But Greenpeace called the facility a whale meat factory at its website, which caused the international community to view Korea as a pro-whaling nation. The city decided that going ahead with the plan would not be in the national interest. It also had trouble raising the fund. In the end, it decided to scrap the plan.In response, Greenpeace officially demanded that the city put its decision in writing, showing the city will not build such facility in 10 years to clearly express Korea's opposition to whaling.Ms. Oh Young Ae from Ulsan KFEM said, "Greenpeace is suspicious of Korea, because Korea has the second largest bycatch numbers only after Japan. Without an official document confirming the revocation of the construction plan, Greenpeace will not remove "whale meat factory" from its website."In response, a city official said, "It is unprecedented that the city produces an official document confirming its decision for an NGO. People may view such document as a sign that the city has changed its policy in the face of outside pressure. So putting the decision in writing is unthinkable."

Exp. contact date: 2005-06-30 00:00:00