Gov’t keeps tighter look at selling of dead whales

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Gov’t keeps tighter look at selling of dead whales

Korea will enforce new regulatory guidelines on illegal whaling in the new year to better adhere to international conservation of the marine mammals, the government said yesterday.

The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said Seoul will make it mandatory, starting Monday, for people to report all dead whales they find to the Korea Maritime Police.

It also said DNA samples of all whales found dead on shore, floating in the water or tangled in fishing nets must be taken.

The ministry said commercial trading of whales found dead will only be permitted if a special “sales permit” is issued by authorities after a thorough probe is conducted to determine how the whale died.

Under the revised rules, which represent the first major administrative change in 25 years, the remains of whales can only be processed for meat and parts at facilities run by the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperative or those designated by the central government. In the past, no facilities were set aside to handle whales, which made it hard to know exactly how many had been caught and processed.

The revised measures are in accordance with monitoring rules set up by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and followed by members of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling.

“Once the new measures go into effect, Seoul will be able to better meet allegations of lax oversight raised by some countries and the IWC, and lay the foundation for monitoring marine resources around the Korean Peninsula,” a ministry official said.

Seoul has adhered to the 1986 international ban on commercial whaling and has made it illegal to catch whales, although animals that are found dead can be sold.

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