24 Aug 2008

Japanese whaling ships return home

6:42 am on 24 August 2008

Japanese whaling ships are due back home after catching 211 whales during their three-month voyage in the northwest Pacific.

The country's fisheries agency says the main ship of the fleet, the Nisshin-maru, arrives in Tokyo on Saturday, with the rest returning by the end of August.

Japan, which says whaling is part of the national culture, plans to kill about 1000 whales a year using a loophole in an international moratorium that allows lethal research.

Its last catch in the Antarctic Ocean earlier this year came to just over half of that figure due to harassment by activists.