Japan has labelled a group of anti-whaling activists “eco-terrorists.”
The activists are aboard a ship in Hobart getting ready to disrupt Japanese whaling in the Southern Ocean.
The crew of the Farley Mowatt will use tactics including sideswiping ships to interrupt whaling.
Paul Watson from The Sea Shephard Conservation Society says this year the Japanese will be killing humpback whales.
“All we know is they’re endangered and you don’t go hunting endangered animals,” he said.
The activists believe they have the support of Australia’s environment minister, Senator Ian Campbell.
Mr Watson says he recently spoke to Senator Campbell, who offered the use of Australia’s Antarctic bases in emergency situations.
“I don’t think that Senator Campbell supports our tactics, and I don’t expect him to, but we certainly have similar objectives, we certainly agree on that.”
Hideki Moronuki from the Fishing Institute of Japan says the whaling program is legal.
He says the conservationists are putting the lives of Japanese researchers at risk.
The conservationists are planning to set sail from Hobart on Friday.