Japanese Suspend Whaling

Anti-whaling activists have forced Japanese officials to call back a fleet that annually visits the Antarctic to hunt the sea mammal.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has repeatedly taken actions to prevent Japanese ships for this yearly hunt. Government officials were concerned about the safety of their crew and recalled the expedition.

The attacks have not caused any injuries or major damage to the vessels, said Tatsuya Nakaoku, a fisheries agency official, according to the AP. The protesters did get a rope entangled in the propeller on a harpoon vessel, causing it to slow down, he said.

Japan has been permitted to hunt whales by the International Whaling Commission since 1986, under the stipulations that it is for scientific research.

Activists, such as Sea Shepherd, feel it is a cover since all unused meat is allowed to be sold commercially in Japan.

The four vessel fleet of 180 people was aiming to catch close to 850 minke whales this season, reported Reuters.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the fleet had caught between 30 and 100 whales thus far before suspending the hunt.

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