Norway sets whale catch

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Norway said it would allow the killing of 296 minke whales this year in defiance of a 1985 worldwide moratorium, but whalers said they were disappointed by the small quota, Reuter reports from Oslo.

The figure, given to parliament yesterday by the Foreign Minister, Johan Joergen Holst, includes 136 minke whales which are to be taken for scientific research - a project described by environmentalists as 'pirate catches'.

Whalers say the quota is so small that some vessels may find it uneconomic to take part and instead concentrate on fishing. They had expected a quota of at least 550 whales.

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