Sea Shepherd crew in an inflatable fast boat, armed with bottles of rotten butter, are doused by water cannons from Japanese harpoon ship, the Yushin Maru No. 1, on Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009 in Antarctica's Ross Sea. The whaling fleet reported a final tally of 679 minke whales and one fin whale caught during the season's five-month effort, falling short of its goal of 935 minkes and 50 fins. Officials blamed poor weather and "interference by protesters."
Sea Shepherd has vowed to return next season with bigger and faster ships to pursue whalers, who insist they will continue hunting for scientific purposes. With no compromise in sight or international bodies policing the Antarctic, annual clashes at the bottom of the world look to grow increasingly violent.