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Image from 4 February 2011 released by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. AP Photo/Sea Shepherd, Simon Ager

Japan temporarily halts Antarctic whaling

Government fishing agency considering calling off this year’s whale cull completely, after pressure from anti-whaling demonstrators.

JAPAN’S FISHERIES AGENCY has suspended the country’s Antarctic whaling after anti-whaling protesters clashed with Japanese vessels yesterday.

Fisheries officials cited harrassment from the US-based activist group, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, as the reason for the temporary suspension.

Japan culls around 800 whales every year in its annual Arctic whale hunt, and officials are now considering calling off the rest of this year’s hunt completely, the Financial Times reports.

The cull is done under an internationally-agreed research project, but meat from the whales is sold so that research resources do not go to waste.

The Sea Shepherd claims that whalers captured under 10 per cent of their planned cull before calling it off, the Australian reports.

Last year, a Sea Shepherd vessel sank after colliding with a Japanese whaling ship.

Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson said his team will stay in the Southern Ocean area until they see evidence of the whalers returning to Japan, in case the Japanese announcement is a “ploy to get us off their back”:

Video uploaded by superfuzz

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