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The United States on Friday denounced Iceland's decision to go ahead with a sharply higher whaling quota, voicing concern there were not whales to sustain the hunt.
Iceland's new left-wing government said last week it will maintain an earlier decision for a quota of 150 fin and 150 minke whales this year -- a sixfold increase -- despite international calls for it to reconsider.
The US State Department said it "strongly opposes" the decision.
"We are deeply concerned that stocks of fin and minke whales are not adequate to support this harvest," it said in a statement.
"We call upon the government of Iceland to rescind this decision and to focus on the long-term conservation of whale stocks, rather than on the short-term interests of its whaling industry," it said.