Sea Shepherd said it has temporarily driven the Japanese whale fleet out of the Antarctic Treaty Zone.

Minke whales on Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru. (Photo: Sea Shepherd Australia)

Despite an international moratorium on commercial whaling that has been in place for nearly 30 years, the Japanese fleet continues to hunt cetaceans under a loophole in the International Whaling Commission convention that allows countries to kill whales for “scientific research.” The Japanese consortium that controls the hunt packages and sells the meat to consumers in Japan.

Japan has been killing whales in the Antarctic since 1987, and in the North Pacific since 1996. Iceland and Norway continue to defy the IWC and hunt whales in the waters off their countries.

Sea Shepherd said the Japanese fleet had been hunting for a day and a half and killed four Minke whales. They expect the whalers to return to the hunt soon.