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Call for Canberra to send ship for whales

AAP logoAAP 23/12/2016 Andrew Drummond

A conservation group has called on the federal government to get involved after finding Japanese whaling vessels in an Australian sanctuary of the Southern Ocean.

Sea Shepherd's Ocean Warrior vessel on Friday morning found a Japanese harpoon ship off shore from Australia's Antarctic Casey Station.

"Sea Shepherd is calling on the Australian government to send a vessel to oppose whaling by Japan in the Australian Whale Sanctuary," Sea Shepherd captain Adam Meyerson said.

The government has previously sent a ship to the region to keep an eye on whaling operations and has in the past voiced its opposition to Japan's annual cull, claimed to be in the name of research.

"Finding one of the hunter killer ships hiding behind an iceberg in a thick fog means that the rest of the fleet is nearby," Mr Meyerson said.

"We all hope to have whaling in the Southern Ocean shut down by Christmas."

Less than three weeks after leaving Hobart for its first mission of the season, the Ocean Warrior reports that so far conditions are helping save whales.

"The conditions have been very foggy and whaling conditions have been poor, which is a great sign for the whales."

A ruling by the International Court of Justice in 2014 in strong opposition to Japan's whaling has been skirted by a revised kill quota.

The season will end in March by which time a haul of 333 minke whales is permitted.

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