Posted by: The ocean update | June 23, 2016

Fishing nets kill six whales a day, institute says (South Korea)

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. Photograph by Nicole McLachlan

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. Photograph by Nicole McLachlan

June 23rd, 2016 (Kim Da-hee). Accidental catches kill about six whales a day, figures show.

According to Korea’s National Institute of Fisheries Science (NIFS), 10,337 whales have been killed in incidental catches since 2011. On average, 2,133 whales are killed this way a year.

By species, porpoises, often referred to as “native dolphins,” topped the list with 5,818 deaths, followed by common dolphins (1,914) and minke whales (382). NIFS’s whale institute assumed the whale death toll would be much higher because of illegal poaching or some fishermen not reporting cases.

Most of the deaths were in the West Sea. The largest proportion, 6,446 whales, was killed there while the east coast and the south coast claimed 2,391 and 1,374 respectively.

In terms of season, many whales were killed in spring. The number accidentally caught peaked in May with 3,128. June and April followed with 1,587 and 1,557.

NIFS’s whale institute said stow-net fishing was the main reason for the higher spring death toll.

“In spring, when the coastal ecosystem actively works, many whales were killed after being stuck in nets in stow-net fishing areas,” an institute official said.

More information : New research sheds light on whale by-catch in the Korean peninsula (link)

How Whales Are Deliberately Hunted by ‘Accident’ (link)

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