An international law expert believes South Korea will be relying on a loophole in the system to go ahead with its whaling plans.
The announcement that it's resuming whaling has come as a surprise to the international community.
Australian National University Professor of International Law, Donald Rothwell, says an article in the Whaling Convention allows special permits to be issued for small-scale take of whales for scientific research.
But he says many argue that lethal whaling is no longer necessary for that.
"There are appropriate non-lethal means under which this scientific research can be undertaken. But setting aside that scientific debate this is the basis upon which South Korea would be seeking to undertake so-called scientific whaling."
There's political opposition across the board to South Korea's plans.
Labour, the Greens and now ACT have all come out against the proposal, joining the Government's chorus of opposition.
ACT leader John Banks says it is ludicrous anyone can believe you need to kill whales to save them.
He describes the thinking as lamentable and obscene, and says the plans should be condemned and stopped before it even begins.
South Korea's putting its proposal to the International Whaling Commission only out of transparency, rather than approval.
Photo: NZ Herald