SHIMONOSEKI, Yamaguchi Pref. -- The International Whaling Commission's weeklong annual plenary meeting ended Friday with a ban on commercial hunting in place for another year but nations bitterly divided over aboriginal whaling.

Observers said the meeting was the most divisive in years after Tokyo led a bloc of mainly Caribbean nations in defeating the renewal of an aboriginal whaling quota for northern natives in Alaska and northeastern Russia by a single vote.

"In 56 years of history in the IWC," said U.S. IWC Commissioner Rolland Schmitten, "that was the most unjust, unkind, unfair vote that was ever taken. That vote literally denied people (the ability) to feed their families."