Norwegian whalers have harpooned 50 minke whales so far this year out of a total quota of 301, defying an international moratorium on com-mer-cial whaling and a U.S. threat of trade sanctions.
Under the 1994 quotas, set by Oslo for its own whalers but not recognized by other countries, they are allowed to catch 189 minke whales in a commercial hunt which started on June 12, and 112 in a so-called research hunt.Per Sandberg, an official with Norway's Fisheries Directorate, told Reuters Tuesday that 31 animals had been caught under the commercial quota. "Twenty-nine were taken around Jan Mayen and two in the Barents Sea," he said.
The environmental group Greenpeace has vowed to step up an anti-whaling campaign against Norway begun last year when Oslo resumed commercial hunts of minke whales after a six-year break.
The International Whaling Commission (IWC) imposed a moratorium on all commercial whaling in 1985.
President Clinton said last year Norway's hunt merited sanctions under U.S. law but stopped short of imposing measures while Washington tried to work out a compromise with Oslo.
In 1993, Norwegian whalers caught 226 minke whales.