BUENOS AIRES - Latin American countries on Monday slammed Japan's whale hunting in Antarctic waters for what it claims to be "scientific" purposes.
In a statement from Argentina's foreign ministry, member countries of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the Buenos Aires Group (GBA) expressed their "strongest objection to the hunting of whales."
The whales hunted by the Japanese are species "classified as endangered in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary," the statement said.
"The GBA notes with serious concern that Japan issued 'special permits' authorizing the hunting in the Southern Ocean of 850 Minke whales, 50 Fin whales and 50 Humpback whales," it said.
The GBA said the hunting limits clearly proved "a commercial nature" of the operation, urging the Japanese government to stop whaling in the sanctuary.
Japan has been hunting whales for claimed "scientific" purposes under a clause in an IWC moratorium in 1986, which bans commercial whaling but permits hunting for scientific researches.
Its whaling has been widely condemned by the international community, said the 11-country GBA, which groups Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay.