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Japan Whaling: Country Says It Caught 195 Whales In Pacific Ocean Under Research Program

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A member of the Japanese delegation walks past anti-whaling militants on June 21, 2010 as he arrives for the opening of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Agadir. The IWC is to debate catch quotas, which could replace a moratorium. The 88-nation body will debate the proposal, put forward by the IWC's chairmen in an attempt to break a 24-year deadlock that has nearly wrecked the global whaling regime. Despite a 1986 moratorium on the commercial hunting of whales, Japan, Norway | Getty File

TOKYO -- Japan says it has caught 195 whales in the Pacific Ocean this season under a research program opposed by activists who call it commercial whaling in disguise.

Japan's Fisheries Agency said Thursday that the fleet harvested 49 minke, 95 sei and 50 Bryde's whales and one sperm whale during its three-month Pacific expedition.

Japan also hunts hundreds of whales in the Antarctic Ocean as part of its research program, which is exempt from a 1986 whaling ban.

Critics say the expeditions are a cover for commercial whaling because meat from the harvest is sold for domestic consumption.

Japan's annual whale catch has declined in recent years due to violent protests by conservationist groups.

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