NEAH BAY, Wash. (AP) _ Makah tribal police on Sunday arrested four anti-whaling protesters who set foot on reservation land during a demonstration over the tribe's planned whale hunt.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society official Lisa Distefano, group photographer Jan Cook of Seattle, and members Matahil Lawson of British Columbia and Ken Nichols of Hawaii were arrested on trespassing charges.

They were turned over to the Clallam County Sheriff's Department and released after making statements, Undersheriff Joe Martin said. He said his office is not considering charges. Federal charges are still possible.

``It's a sad thing that's happened,'' said Ben Johnson, chairman of the Makah Tribal Council. ``Sea Shepherd has been pushing buttons _ people react. People can only take so much.''

The environmentalists have been anchored offshore here for more than a month and are protesting the tribe's planned hunt.

At midday Sunday, the protesters moved in closer to shore and yelled save-the-whale slogans to tribal members, who yelled at them to leave.

The Makah hope to kill a gray whale this fall, reviving a centuries-old whaling tradition. The tribe stopped whaling in the 1920s, after commercial whaling decimated the gray-whale population.

The Makah have received international sanction and federal support for a plan to take 20 whales through 2002 _ a maximum of five per year.

Sea Shepherd contends the hunt is illegal and will lead to wholesale commercial whaling on a global scale.