Japan ended its whaling season with less than a third of its annual target, said the country's fisheries agency.
The whaling ships headed home from the Antarctic Ocean this week with 266 minke whales and one fin whale, falling short of its quota of about 900.
The agency blamed "sabotage" by anti-whaling activists for the shortfall.
Japan conducts "legal research" on whales each year, but activists say it is a cover for commercial whaling banned under an international treaty.
"The catch was smaller than planned due to factors including weather conditions and sabotage acts by activists," an agency official was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying.