Should whaling be allowed?

Should whaling be allowed?

Conservationist ship approaches a Japanese whaling ship

There have been several confrontations at sea

In the past few weeks environmental activists and a Japanese whaling fleet have been playing a cat and mouse game in the southern Ocean.

Despite a worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling imposed in the 1980s, Japan and Norway continue to hunt whales.

Japan ostensibly for reasons of scientific research; Norway because it does not subscribe to the moratorium.

Japanese whalers are hoping to land a catch of around 1,000 minke and fin whales this season.

Its supporters say it is an aspect of a country's national identity and as a commercial activity no different in principle from fishing or farming.

Its opponents see it as cruel, and claim that whales are highly intelligent and sociable animals.

Listen Newshour looks at both sides of the debate

First broadcast 26th January