Japanese whalers returned to port on Saturday after capturing 333 cetaceans in the Antarctic Ocean without having been confronted with any protest by organizations opposed to this hunt, the authorities announced.
A fleet of five ships had begun its campaign in November as part of the highly controversial "scientific" whaling conducted by Japan.
Three Whalers, including the main ship of the fleet, the Nisshin Maru, arrived Saturday morning at the port of Shimonoseki, in Western Japan, said a port manager.
333 minke whales
In total, the five whalers captured 333 minke whales as planned without being interrupted by opponents of these campaigns, said the Fisheries Agency in a communiqué.
Japanese whalers have been confronted in the past with animal advocacy organizations, including Sea Shepherd. The NGO announced last year that it was not planning a protest operation at sea this season.
International Whaling Commission
Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission's moratorium on hunting, but uses a flaw in the text that authorizes the hunting of cetaceans for scientific purposes. The International Court of Justice had summoned Japan in 2014 to terminate its regular hunting campaigns in Antarctic waters, stressing that it did not meet the requisite scientific criteria.
The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reiterated at the end of January his country's willingness to pursue the so-called "scientific" whale hunt in Antarctica and to resume commercial fishing.
Whale consumption has a long history in Japan, where it has been hunted for centuries. The whaling industry grew after the second world war, to bring animal proteins to the people of the country. However, demand from Japanese consumers has declined considerably in recent years. Rtl