Marine conservationists Sea Shepherd are claiming Japan's decision to abandon whaling around Antarctica as a victory, though their battle will go on with the Asian nation moving to resume hunting elsewhere. On Boxing Day, Japan announced it was leaving the International Whaling Commission so it could resume commercial hunting of the marine mammals in their territorial waters.
The anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd has announced it will not intercept Japanese vessels in the Southern Ocean this season. The group's ships have confronted Japanese vessels off Antarctica each year since 2005.
US court has ordered conservation group Sea Shepherd to stay at least 500 yards away from Japan's whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit banned the group from “physically attacking any vessel engaged by the plaintiffs”.
Sea Shepherd leader Paul Watson has skipped bail and fled from Germany, with his supporters claiming they fear he would have been extradited to Japan over Antarctic whaling protests.
New Zealand joined Australia in criticizing Japan’s decision to resume whaling in Antarctic waters later this year and Tokyo's announcement that it will increase security for its whaling fleet.