Australia blasts Japan after whaling fleet incursion
SYDNEY (AFP) - The Australian government on Friday lodged a protest with Tokyo after a ship from the Japanese whaling fleet entered its exclusive economic zone in the Southern Ocean near Macquarie Island.
Canberra is strongly opposed to whaling and launched legal action challenging the basis of Japan's so-called "scientific" hunt in December 2010.
The Japanese fleet left for the Southern Ocean in late December, planning to catch up to 935 Antarctic minke whales and up to 50 fin whales and the Shonan Maru No.2, a support vessel, strayed into Australia's economic zone on Thursday.
"The government strongly objects to whaling vessels passing through Australian territorial seas or our exclusive economic zone," Environment Minister Tony Burke said.