SHIMONOSEKI — Japanese whaling boats returned to port over Saturday after catching more than of the mammals from the Antarctic Ocean without any protests by anti-whaling teams, officials said.
A fleet of five whalers set sail for the Southern Ocean in November, since Tokyo pursues its “research whaling” in defiance of global criticism.
Three of the vessels, including the fleet’s main ship, the Nisshin Maru, came in the morning in Shimonoseki port in western Japan, a port official said.
The fleet captured 333 minke whales as intended without any disturbance by anti-whaling campaigners, the Fisheries Agency said in a statement.
Japanese whalers have previously clashed at sea with animal rights campaigners, notably the Sea Shepherd activist group, which announced it had no plan to create foreign protests this season.
Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission moratorium on searching, however, exploits a loophole which allows whales to be killed for scientific study.
Tokyo states the slaughter is necessary for in-depth understanding of whale behavior and biology, but it gets no secret of the fact that whales killed in the hunts often end up on dinner plates.
By Agence France-Presse