A U.S. appeals court ordered American anti-whaling activists to keep 457 meters away from Japanese whaling ships off Antarctica.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction against the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which sends vessels every December to disrupt whale killings by Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research.
The whalers sued Sea Shepherd last year to prevent the protesters from interfering, but the judge refused to grant the request. The whalers appealed, and a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit late Monday ordered Sea Shepherd not to attack or approach any of the Japanese vessels until it can rule.
Japan's whaling fleet kills up to 1,000 whales a year, as allowed by the International Whaling Commission. Japan is permitted to hunt the animals as long as they are killed for research and not commercial purposes.