4 Oct 2011

Japan confirms Southern Ocean whale hunt

11:26 pm on 4 October 2011

The Japanese government has confirmed it will send its whaling fleet to the Southern Ocean this year.

There was speculation the government might curtail the so-called scientific whaling catch, with programmes being cut across the board to help pay for the March earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters.

But speaking to journalists in Tokyo, Agriculture Minister Michihiko Kano confirmed that the fleet would depart about November, the ABC reports.

The government says it will also send an observation ship to monitor the activities of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an anti-whaling group.

The Sea Shepherd group successfully obstructed last season's hunt, leaving the Japanese fleet with just a fifth of its quota.

Since the ban on commercial whaling in 1986, Japan has conducted whaling under the guise of scientific research.