Anti-whaling activists Sea Shepherd Conservation Society declared victory this week as Japan’s whaling fleet left the Antarctic with less than a third of its expected catch.

Japan’s Fisheries Agency announced Friday from Tokyo that its fleet was heading home “on schedule,” but that its catch of 267 whales fell far short of the approximately 900 projected, AFP reports. According to an agency official, “factors including weather conditions and sabotage acts by activists” were to blame for the weak results.

After pursuing the whalers for much of the season, Sea Shepherd announced its mission a success on its website Thursday.

"Is it a victory? Yes. We kept them running almost for the whole three months," Captain Paul Watson told Australia’s ABC News24.

From CNN:

News of the Japanese whaling fleet’s withdrawal comes four days after the Institute of Cetacean Research, which oversees the Japanese whaling program, reported a confrontation between the Japanese ships and Sea Shepherd’s ship Bob Barker.

The activists claimed to have used laser beams and flares to disrupt the whaling ship Nisshin Maru, The Associated Press reports.

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