SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea says it may scrap research whaling plans that have been widely criticized.
Fisheries official Kang Joon-suk said Wednesday that Seoul may drop the plans if it finds ways to study whales without killing them.
The government said last week that it would allow the killing of whales for research because fishermen were complaining that whales were eating large amounts of fish.
The announcement drew protests from non-whaling nations and environmentalists who suspected the plan was a cover for commercial whaling.
Kang wouldn't describe how South Korea might conduct research without whaling. Australia uses sonar and satellite devices to track whales. The environmental group Greenpeace recommends analysis of feces to study whale diets.
South Korea had a long tradition of whaling before an international moratorium was introduced in 1986.