SEOUL, July 17 (Xinhua) -- South Korea has decided to drop its controversial plan to resume whaling for scientific research, Yonhap news agency reported Tuesday.
"Discussions between government ministries have been concluded in a way that effectively scraps the plan to allow whaling in coastal waters," Yonhap reported, quoting an anonymous government official."Even if it is for scientific research, we have to take into consideration that this has emerged as a sensitive issue at home and abroad."
Earlier this month, South Korea unveiled its plan at an International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Panama, sparking an international outcry.
It said the research was needed "for the proper assessment of whale stocks."
However, in the face of mounting international criticism, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said last week it may scrap the plan if other non-lethal options to study the mammals were available.
South Korea has had a long tradition of whaling, especially in the coastal town of Ulsan, which currently serves meat from whales accidentally caught in nets.