Foreign Minister Murray McCully says the Korean announcement of an intention to commence a so-called scientific whaling programme in the North West Pacific is "a serious setback for those who are committed to conservation of the species".
Mr McCully says he hopes Korea will carefully consider the concerns of countries like New Zealand before making any final decisions.
“Whales in these waters are already heavily targeted by Japan, and large numbers are also caught as by-catch by Korea. Any action by Korea to commence whaling in these waters following today’s announcement will have serious consequences,” Mr McCully says.
“This initiative will also place further pressure on the IWC, already an organisation with difficulty sustaining itself as a credible international institution.
"The portrayal of this initiative as a ‘scientific’ programme will have no more credibility than the so-called scientific programme conducted by Japan, which has long been recognised as commercial whaling in drag.
“In this day and age there is simply no need to kill whales in order to conduct effective research.
"New Zealand has raised its voice against this proposal at the IWC meeting and I have instructed that our Ambassador in Seoul take immediate steps to register our serious concerns with the Korean government.
"It is to be hoped that Korea will now give serious consideration to the widespread and strong objections being raised," Mr McCully says.
Source: NZ Government