Conservationists want Australia to lead the anti-whaling charge at a major summit next week, as dramatic footage is released of a whale being hit by an exploding harpoon.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) captured the footage, which shows a minke whale swimming off Norway in May.

A ship fires a harpoon at the whale, which appears to be hit by an explosion.

The ship then attempts for more than 20 minutes to locate the whale, which WSPA says was injured but still alive.

A second harpoon is fired later which kills a minke whale.

Emily Reeves, spokeswoman for WSPA Australia, said the footage shows why Australia should campaign against whaling at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) summit in Morocco next week.

Japan used exploding harpoons to kill whales in the Southern Ocean, she said.

"Whaling is inherently cruel ... there's no way to prevent a whale from suffering," Ms Reeves told AAP.

Exploding harpoons aimed to detonate inside the whale's body and cause death. Sometimes whales were injured, sometimes they died instantly.

The IWC is to consider a proposal which would lift the current ban on commercial whaling.

Australia opposes the proposal and WSPA wants Australia to fight hard at the IWC summit.

The Norwegian Society for the Protection of Animals and NOAH assisted in capturing the footage.