Where Would it Be? "Dream of Whales, Hope of Ulsan"
The 12th Ulsan Whale Festival was celebrated beginning from the eve of last June 8 until the 11th in JangSaengPo, Ulsan with the catch phrase, "Dream of Whales, Hope of Ulsan". It is one of the most representative festivals of Ulsan projecting to develop froma local festival expressing region's history and cultural values into a unique and specialized culture touring festival.
▲ Performance: whaling in the prehistoric age
On the main venue, various publicity booths diverse culture events, such as musicals, reconstruction of whaling in the prehistoric age, performances representing each regions in Ulsan showed uniqueness. Whale meat and restaurant PR booths to which many of the visitors were interested, also took up much room. Most of the booths other than promoting whale meat was occupied by souvenir shops or advertisements for a region or a company. After all, there was no one talking about whale preservation, ocean ecology or habitats of whales. Though it might have been impossible to expect such things in the first place, it was indeed regretful.
▲ The booths selling whale meat
▲ The inside of the whale museum
There were some PR activities at the booth of the Green Korea United and the Ulsan Environmental Union, set up at some distance from the main event plaza. It seemed ironical that the fact of being far away had brought positive effects. Due to the great concentration, some even hoped there were more materials and volunteering activists. Especially, children showed considerable reaction through whale puzzles and scratching games and as a result, we could expect interests of the parents. Also, in a survey we conducted to the visitors at the whale museum, respondents pointed out the lack of experience programs and deficiency of exhibition and materials. Thus, as the only whale museum in Korea, the museum planned to seek means to advance its quality through constant monitoring.
▲ The Booth of Green Korea United
▲ Children with whale toys
Do Human Beings Have the Right to Determine the Life and Death of Whales?
International Whaling Commission (IWC) is established under the International Whaling Treaty, and its General Meeting has been held every year since the year 1949. In an effort to boost harmonized development of the whaling industry by protecting the existing whales and hence preventing its extermination in advance, the General Meeting discusses and decides on the agenda such as (1) whaling seasons, (2) designated area of whaling, and (3) prohibition of unlimited whaling, etc. So far, the decisions from the meetings include the cease of commercial whaling since 1986, and the establishment of sanctuary area in the South Pole Sea with effect from 1996. However, while complaints from the countries with whaling ports are escalating, Korea has not clearly expressed its positions on the whaling.
▲ Poster: NO WHALING (2005)
The 58th General Meeting of IWC is held at the Saint Keats Nevis, an island country in the Caribbean Sea, during the 5 days period starting from 16th June. Due to the participating countries from Africa and Caribbean Sea, which happened to join the IWC by Japanese's vote manipulation, it is said that the number of whaling supporting member countries accounted more than the half of total participating countries. The new members countries include inland countries with no seas such as Mongolia, Czecho, and Luxemburg, etc. If the approval ratio would exceed more than 50%, the whaling vote will be changed to a secret ballot, which will then increase the supporting ratio. At present the members from WISPA and EIA are shouting against commercial and scientific whaling somewhere around the IWC convention center. The WISPA and EIA respectively is one of the member organizations of the Whalewatch, which is the alliance of 140 something whale protection groups from all over the world.
It is to be wished that the Korean government, participating as a member of the General Meeting, would say anything against the whaling, and prepare proactive protection measures. At this moment affecting the fate of whales, the whales are treated as the "lottery of the seas" in our country, and the whales are being killed in a fishing net. A paradigm shift is necessary for whales, neither as a whale to be eaten, nor as a whale of lottery of the seas, but as a whale to coexist with human beings. A whale is not a fish. The whales is a natural animal at a threat of being extinct by us, human beings.
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