South Korea says it plans to hunt whales for research purposes for the first time.
The Fisheries Ministry says officials conveyed the plan to the International Whaling Commission during an IWC meeting this week in Panama.
It says Australia and New Zealand expressed concerns during the meeting that South Korea may use the hunts as a cover for commercial whaling.
Ministry officials say the intended whaling is aimed only at studying the types and amounts of fish whales live on. They say South Korea hasn’t determined what to do with the whale meat following the studies.
The ministry says it will give up the whaling plans if the IWC rejects them.
South Korea still outlaws whaling for commercial purposes under a 1986 IWC moratorium on such hunts.