[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]A compromise on whales

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[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]A compromise on whales

Regarding ‘Controversy over a giant of the sea’ (J-Style, June 24), pragmatic solutions to satisfy two opposing sides on whaling are critically needed.
Whales are not only beautiful oceanic creatures that need protection, but play an important role in the food chain of sea life that maintains the balance of oceanic ecology.
For such reasons, awareness of the need to preserve the giants of the sea from extinction has become a point of consideration especially with the endeavoring aspirations of the International Whaling Commission.
However, the people of Jangsaengpo, many of whom have lost their main source of living and cultural heritage, some of which even moved out of the area since Korea joined the worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986, must be taken into consideration.
To both protect whales and boost the economy of the Jangsaengpo wharf in Ulsan, joint research by organizations for and against whaling must be established with professional research centers and task forces.
With statistics that act as a common foundation for understanding the current circumstances of whales in their breeding areas, the two sides could negotiate on which species need to be protected and which ones are suitable for fishing, as some are, through quotas. As a result, both sides could be satisfied.
In addition to the first scheme, one of the least harmful yet sustainable and profitable ways to serve both sides’ purposes is to initiate ecotourism centered on whales.
Whale-watching has become very popular in regions such as Juneau, the capital of Alaska, or Ningaloo Reef, off Western Australia, where it has become a valuable tourist attraction and contributes to the economy and community growth.
Ulsan, with the help of the Korean government, other intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations, non-governmental organizations such as Greenpeace and other states against whaling, could establish whale-watching attractions to both preserve whale populations and gain economic boons and sustain the historical and cultural value of whales.
It is possible to catch two pigeons with one bean, rather than waste time negotiating over the environmental and economic values of whales.

by Suh Ah-hyun
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