Japanese whaling ships on Monday resumed hunting minke whales in coastal areas off Hokkaido, and are likely to reach their catch quota later this month.

Since restarting commercial whaling in July for the first time in 31 years, the government has set a catch quota of 53 minke whales through late December to prevent over-hunting, with 33 of them allocated for coastal whaling.

The Japan Small-Type Whaling Association estimates that this year's hunting of minke whales in Japan's coastal areas could wrap up at the end of September.