Whale meat in South Korea
National and international laws prohibit whaling in South Korea, but if fishermen accidentally catch a whale, they’re allowed to sell it.
How Whales Are Deliberately Hunted by 'Accident'
A loophole allows South Korean fishermen who “accidentally” catch whales to sell them legally, helping support a thriving industry in certain towns.
Days before the Whale Festival in Ulsan, South Korea, last month, authorities raided a cold storage unit and found more than 27 tons—about 40 whales’ worth—of whale meat worth $3.4 million.
The meat belonged to minke whales, which can grow to 35 feet long and swim as fast as 20 miles an hour.
While Japan, Norway, and Iceland get most of the heat for whaling, conservationists say South Korea engages in controversial whaling practices too. South Korean fishermen are known to take advantage of a loophole that allows them to legally sell whale meat from animals that are accidentally caught in fishing nets.
South Korea reports an average of 80 to 100 whales as bycatch annually to the International Whaling Commission,