• Kyodo

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Japan’s first “research whaling” trip since an international court banned such activities in the Antarctic earlier this year produced its lowest catch in northeastern waters since 2003, a whaling association said.

The whalers caught 30 minke whales off Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, between April 26 and Wednesday, well under its self-imposed limit of 51 and short of that threshold for the second consecutive year, the Association for Community-Based Whaling said Friday.

Toshihiro Mogoe, head of the association’s research group, attributed the low catch to unfavorable weather that limited operations to just 19 days out of the 47-day hunt.

According to Mogoe, the number of whales appears to be rising. “The number of whales we confirmed is actually larger than last year,” he said.