Updated: 12/07/2013 15:17 | By Agence France-Presse

Japan whaling ships leave for Antarctic hunt

Two Japanese whaling ships and a surveillance vessel left Saturday for the annual hunt in the Antarctic Sea, Kyodo News said.


Japan whaling ships leave for Antarctic hunt

Anti-whaling protesters march through the Shibuya shopping district in Tokyo on November 4, 2013

The three ships departed from the western port of Shimonoseki to join other ships to hunt up to 935 Antarctic minke whales and up to 50 fin whales through March, the news agency said.

The Fisheries Agency had kept secret the departure date of the whaling fleet as a precaution against obstruction by militant anti-whaling groups such as Sea Shepherd, Kyodo said.

Japan's whale hunts have long drawn criticism from activists and foreign governments, but Tokyo defends the practice saying eating whale is part of Japanese culinary tradition.

Japan says whales are studied as part of a bid by its whaling research institute to prove their populations can sustain commercial whaling.

Activists charge Tokyo's "research whaling" is cover for commercial whaling that is banned under an international agreement.

Japanese whalers and Sea Shepherd activists have routinely clashed violently in exchanges that have seen stink bombs thrown at Japanese crew and water jets trained on protesters.

Japan's whaling catch fell to a record low of 103 Antarctic minke whales in the last season due mainly to the anti-whaling group.

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。