From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2012:
JEJU, South Korea–Jeju District Court Judge Kim Kyeong-seon on April 5, 2012 ordered the dolphin show promotion company Jeju Pacific Land to release five dolphins who were illegally captured from waters surrounding Jeju Island. Judge Kim Kyeong-seon also fined Jeju Pacific Land $9,000 and issued suspended jail sentences to the company president and one employee. The five dolphins who are to be released were among 11 who were allegedly captured for Jeju Pacific Land. The newsaper Dong-A Ilbo reported that five of the dolphins died. One was traded to a zoo for two sea lions.
In March 2012 the Seoul Grand Park Zoo agreed to suspend a dolphin show after South Korean animal advocates demonstrated that a 13-year-old dolphin named Jedol had been captured illegally. The zoo reportedly pledged to release Jedol back to the wild by March 2014, after two years of “gradual adjustment training,” but contended that two other illegally captured dolphins must remain at the zoo because they are too “old and weak” to survive a return to the wild. Of the five dolphins at the zoo, only two have been caught legally.
About 200 of the native dolphin subspecies Tursops Aduncus live around Jeju Island.
South Korean law requires that if whales or dolphins are accidentally caught alive in fishing nets, they are to be immediately released. If found dead, the deaths are to be reported to the South Korean Maritime Police. If the Maritime Police find no evidence that a whale or dolphin has been deliberately killed, the fishers are allowed to sell the remains. Of the 279 whales and dolphins landed at the ports of Ulsan and Busan in 2010, only one was ruled to have been illegally caught. Twenty minke whales and 156 dolphins were landed and sold in 2011, at prices averaging about $35,000 apiece.
A whale meat festival held in Ulsan in May 2011 reportedly attracted 400,000 visitors. Greenpeace and Korean organizations have mobilized against a plan advanced by member of the South Korean congress Kim Gi Hyun to build a whale meat processing plant and a dolphin domestication center in Ulsan, to open in 2014.
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