For fans of Animal Planet's "Whale Wars" series, the wait for new episodes is almost over. 

The network announced today that the new season of the hit reality series, which averaged 1.4 million viewers last year, will premiere on June 3 and include 10 episodes. The show, which follows Sea Shepherd's efforts to defend whales from Japanese hunting vessels in the Southern Ocean, sheds a controversial light on the whaling industry — and the loopholes exploited for commercial gain.

For this year's campaign, titled Operation No Compromise, Capt. Paul Watson and his crew hit the Antarctic waters with three ships, including a new vessel named the MV Gojira. According to Animal Planet, viewers can expect this high-tech trimaran to play a pivotal role in blocking Japanese harpoon vessels — as well as other new tech toys like a "helicopter with a greater range, secret GPS devices, and more."

This season of "Whale Wars" is also unique in that it may be the last time we see the Sea Shepherd go to sea against the whalers in the Southern Ocean. The organization received a great deal of press at the end of their campaign this year for being instrumental in driving the Japanese home much earlier than usual. 

"Perhaps the Sea Shepherds’ tactics finally had taken their toll," the release states. "The whalers’ actions not only signaled a possible victory for the Sea Shepherds, it also meant hundreds of whales’ lives in the Antarctic would be spared this year through an unprecedented cancellation of an entire nation’s whale hunt. But was it a final victory or just a temporary conquest?"

The organization is hopeful that this is the end — estimating that some 800 whales were likely saved this year because of their interference. 

Check out a video of the Sea Shepherd's new vessel below. "Whale Wars" season four premieres on Animal Planet on June 3 at 9 p.m.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

'Whale Wars' season four coming in June
Animal Planet's highest-rated series returns for 10 episodes. The show, which follows Sea Shepherd's efforts to defend whales from Japanese hunting vessels in t