Faroe Islands to limit bloody dolphin slaughter after 1,400 killed in one day

Graphic image warning: Last year’s ‘unusually large catch’ caused widespread outrage and led to a review of the tradition

Aisha Rimi
Monday 11 July 2022 13:48 BST
<p>The hunting of sea animals is a longstanding tradition on the remote islands, taking place for over 800 years</p>

The hunting of sea animals is a longstanding tradition on the remote islands, taking place for over 800 years

The Faroe Islands is set to limit its bloody dolphin hunt following public outcry when last year’s hunt saw 1,400 animals killed in a single day.

A review was ordered in February after a petition with almost 1.3 million signatures submitted to the Faroese government called for a ban on the tradition.

The hunt has long received widespread criticism, especially from animal rights activists who deem the practice barbaric and unnecessary.

Last year’s “unusually large” killing of 1,423 dolphins shocked locals and even drew criticism from groups involved in the act.

Dead whales and dolphins line the shore following a grindadrap hunt in the Faroe Islands

“An annual catch limit of 500 white-sided dolphins has now been proposed by the Ministry of Fisheries on a provisional basis for 2022 and 2023,” the territory’s fisheries ministry said in a statement.

“Aspects of that catch [2021] were not satisfactory, in particular the unusually large number of dolphins killed,” the statement read.

“This made procedures difficult to manage and is unlikely to be a sustainable level of catch on a long-term annual basis,” it added.

The government also stressed that the hunt was an “important supplement to the livelihoods of Faroe Islanders”.

“The government of the Faroe Islands continues to base its policies and management measures on the right and responsibility of the Faroese people to utilise the resources of the sea sustainably.

“This also includes marine animals, such as pilot whales and dolphins,” the statement read.

The hunt sparked international outcry

The hunting of sea animals – known as “grindadrap”, or “grind” for short, in Faroese – is a longstanding tradition on the remote islands, taking place for over 800 years.

The practice involves herding whales and dolphins onto a beach where they are slaughtered as their blood turns the sea red.

Whale and dolphin meat is still consumed for traditional reasons by some islanders, but the proportion of the population who still eat it has reduced significantly over the years.

In previous years, British supermarkets have been urged to stop selling seafood from the Faroe Islands in protest against the tradition.

However, only the dolphin hunt is being reviewed, not the entire grind tradition.

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