advocacy

Why 1,428 dolphins were killed in Faroe Islands in 1 night; Sea Shepherd condemns recent grindadráp

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Speed boats and jet skis corralled a super-pod of 1,428 Atlantic white-sided dolphins onto Skálabotnur beach on the island of Eysturoy in the Faroe Islands on September 12, 2021. They were killed there during a traditional whaling hunt called grindadráp, which is held annually.

It was the largest single hunt in the history of the Faroe Islands. Headquartered in Friday Harbor, Washington, United States, marine conservation group the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society denounced it and called it a brutal and badly mishandled massacre.

“It was a complete disaster, (a) completely unprecedented (one),” KTLA quoted Sea Shepherd Conservation Society campaign director Robert Read as saying. “In fact, it could even be the largest single hunt of cetaceans in documented history anywhere in the world.”

Gjógv, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands (©Annie Spratt)
Gjógv, Eysturoy, Faroe Islands (©Annie Spratt)

Even whaling supporters including Denmark resident Kristian Petersen, 41, condemned the killing of the dolphins. Originally from Fuglafjørður, Faroe Islands, he started participating in whaling in 1987 but dolphins were never targeted in his village.

“I have experienced that firsthand and also participated a bit,” Petersen told CNN. “As long as it has been for food only, I have supported it but this recent catch that was this weekend, I’m against how it went on.”

The Faroe Islands is an autonomous territory of Denmark. For centuries, grindadráp has been part of the Faroese culture and it usually involves the hunting of long-finned pilot whales.

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Whaling in the Faroe Islands is considered indigenous or aboriginal whaling. While it is permitted under international regulation, it remains a controversial issue in some countries.

Currently, the Faroese authorities, which is represented by the Home Rule Government since 1948, regulate whaling in the Danish territory. The non-commercial hunts are organized on a community level between the 17 islands of the archipelago.

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