According to the Japanese government, their latest whaling expedition only killed a quarter of the planned quota partly because of Sea Shepherd actions.
Fisheries agency official Koichi Mizutani said that the fleet that returned on Saturday was harassed by the anti-whaling group on the Antarctic Ocean.
The Japanese whalers ‘often had to run away from the group and they could not engage in their research’, Mr Mizutani said.
According to Captain Paul Watson, 784 whales were saved. Japan’s quota was set at 1,035 whales and the ship returned with only 251 carcasses.
“Thank you Captain Peter Hammaerstedt and the crew of the Bob Barker. Thank you Captain Sid Chakavarty and the crew of the Steve Irwin. Thank you Captain Adam Meyerson and the crew of the Sam Simon,” Watson wrote on his Facebook page.
Luckily for the whales, Japan won’t be sending any more fleets to the Southern Ocean after the International Court of Justice ordered the country to sop their decades-old “scientific whaling” programme.
The UN tribunal said no further licences should be issued for scientific whaling in which animals are first examined for research purposes before the meat is sold.
Japan defended its programme stating that the research whaling is needed to assess whether whale stocks are recovering from overfishing.
As of December, Japan’s whale meat stock is 2888 tonnes, even though the whale meat market has been declining for years. In 2012, 75 per cent of roughly 1,200 tons of minke killed the previous year was not sold, despite repeated attempts to auction it.
Japan will continue hunting whales in the northern Pacific as well as their infamous annual dolphin slaughter in Taiji.