Activists Halt Japan Whale Hunt

Harassment making Antarctic hunt 'unsafe,' says fisheries official
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2011 4:00 AM CST
Activists Halt Japan Whale Hunt
The Japanese whaling ship Yushin Maru No. 3 approaches the Sea Shepherd's high-speed trimaran Gojira during as encounter this month in the Southern Ocean, Antarctica.   (AP Photo/Sea Shepherd, Simon Ager, File)

The Japanese have temporarily suspended an Antarctic whale hunt because of repeated harassment by activists from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The hunt, aiming to bag as many as 945 whales, has been halted because of "violent" disruptions, said the nation's top fisheries officials. No one has been injured nor have any vessels been damaged in the actions, which included throwing rancid butter at whalers and entangling a rope in a propeller, reports AP.

Sea Shepherd leaders hailed the news. Japan "should have suspended the hunts 15 years ago," said a spokesman. "It's morally and legally wrong to kill whales." Japan dodges international whale hunting bans by calling the killings part of scientific research, even though the whale meat obtained is sold commercially. The hunt will be resumed when safety is restored, said Japanese officials. (More Antarctica stories.)

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