Japan wraps up Pacific whale hunt

AFP
This handout picture from Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) in 2013 shows a Bryde's whale on the deck of a ship during Japan's whale research programme in the western North Pacific
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This handout picture from Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) in 2013 shows a Bryde's whale on the deck of a ship during Japan's whale research programme in the western North Pacific (AFP Photo/)

Tokyo (AFP) - Japan announced Tuesday that it had wrapped up a whale hunt in the Pacific, the second campaign since the UN's top court ordered Tokyo to halt a separate slaughter in the Antarctic.

The country's fisheries agency said 115 whales were killed during the two-and-a-half month campaign as the whaling fleet returned home.

The hunt saw 90 Sei whales and 25 Bryde's whales killed, in line with a pre-hunt target, the agency said, adding that there was no interference from anti-whaling activists.

Sometimes-violent exchanges between Japanese whalers and activists have become a regular occurrence during the high-seas hunts.

"The fleet did not face any obstruction during its operation," an agency official said.

It was the second campaign since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said in March that Japan's annual expedition to the Southern Ocean was a commercial activity masquerading as research.

Japan has hunted whales under a loophole in the 1986 global moratorium that allows lethal research on the mammals, but has made no secret of the fact that their meat ends up in restaurants and fish markets.

Tokyo called off the 2014-15 season for its Antarctic hunt, and said it would redesign the controversial whaling mission in a bid to make it more scientific.

In June, Japan slaughtered 30 Minke whales as part of a coastal whaling hunt.

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