The South Korean coastguard has announced that it will be increasing efforts to crack down on illegal whaling in the Yellow Sea.
Police and coast guard officials have been catching more and more poachers involved in the hunts, which are fuelled by high prices paid by local restaurants for the meat. A single minke whale can sell for tens of thousands of pounds.
Much of the meat is sold legally because, it is claimed, they have been caught in fishing nets by accident. However, minke whales are protected in South Korea and whalers have been caught deliberately targeting them on a mass scale.
The poaching vessels reportedly move from the nation’s eastern coastal regions to the Yellow Sea along the migration route of the whales. The illegally slaughtered whales are hidden on ships and smuggled into ports.
Under a list of measures, coastguard officials will distribute a list of illegal whalers and strengthen inspections on ships leaving and entering ports. They will also crackdown on groups involved in the processing and selling of the meat. Those caught face up to three years in prison however, the most helpful measure would be to stop the legal sales of whale meat from whales accidentally caught in nets, which is fuelling the illegal hunts.