The fight over whether whaling should be banned or not heated recently when two anti-whaling activists were detained on a Japanese fishing vessel after boarding the ship without permission to reportedly dispense information.
Much of the action is taking place in the Southern Ocean. But you don't have to sail half way around the world to observe whales. You don't even have to leave dry land. This article in the LA Times lists the Top 10 places to observe whales in the Pacific Ocean right from the coast.
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