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By Arata Yamamoto

TOKYO — Japanese “scientific whalers” said Tuesday that they have reached a deal with wildlife activists at the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to end years of physical clashes.

The government-backed Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) and its shipping operator, Kyodo Senpaku, said that Sea Shepherd activists were now “permanently enjoined from physically attacking the research vessels.”

The U.S.-based organization is also prohibited from getting within 500 yards of Japanese vessels in the open sea under the settlement, the ICR said.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has had many clashes at sea with Japanese scientists.Sea Shepherd / Twitter

The IRC filed a motion with the Washington Federal District Court in 2011 seeking an injunction to stop Sea Shepherd’s activities, which it said included “ramming vessels, dragging ropes to damage propellers and throwing and firing glass projectiles."

A preliminary injunction was approved in 2012 and in 2014, but the sea clashes continued and Sea Shepherd was forced to pay $2.55 million for civil contempt for not following the injunction

This time, cash will be repaid to Sea Shepherd with the caveat that the fund is not used in future obstructive activities, ICR said in a statement. The amount of the settlement was not revealed.

Sea Shepherd was established in 1977 by Paul Watson, a former member of Greenpeace . It operates from bases around the world, including New Zealand. It is known for protecting whales and other marine life by using direct action to disrupt whaling vessels.

The organization was not immediately available for comment.

Alastair Jamieson contributed.