"TOKYO -- Japan's whaling fleet has been scaled back and today departed late for the Southern Ocean aiming to catch hundreds of minke whales and 50 fin whales.
The Japanese whaling fleet traditionally departs by November 19 and returns in April but this year will conduct a shortened hunt with fewer vessels. The whaling fleet has not delayed its departure into December for over 20 years.
During the 2009-10 season, the Japanese fleet included a factory ship, three harpoon ships, a supply ship and two security patrol vessels.
But the support vessel Hiyo Maru No. 2, which fueled the fleet and transported frozen whale meat back to Japan, was scrapped in September according to Lloyd's Seaweb."
They will be met and harassed by a three-ship flotilla from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which includes a new high-speed trimaran interceptor and video crews from Animal Planet.