Faroe Islands will limit the killing of dolphins to 500 a year after international outrage

The Faroe Islands have a long tradition of hunting small whales and dolphins.

Photo: TONY ASHBY/AFP/Getty Images

The Faroe Islands will limit the number of dolphins killed in its annual huntafter they faced a backlash of global outrage over the number of animals slaughtered last year.

In September 2021, more than 1,400 white dolphins were killed in a single day, sparking international outrage. In response, the Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands announced that the government would review the hunt for dolphins.

As a result, this year, the Faroe Islands will provisionally limit the hunting of dolphins to 500 animals.

The limit will apply to white-sided dolphins for the next two years, but does not apply to the hunting tradition in general, which particularly targets pilot whales (which are part of the dolphin family).

Why do the Faroe Islands kill dolphins?

The Faroe Islands have a long tradition of hunting small whales and dolphins, with the annual hunt dating back to at least 1584. The tradition is known in Faroese as “Grindadráp”.

Although whales are the primary target, long-finned pilot whales, bottlenose dolphins and Atlantic white-sided dolphins are among those hunted and killed for their meat and blubber.

However, consumption of dolphin meat is believed to be declining due to concerns about its high levels of mercury. As a result, the Faroese government has introduced strict health guidelines on its consumption.

What happens during the dolphin hunt?

During whaling and dolphin hunting, boats take the animals to shallow water at Skalabotnur beach in Eysturoy. Once beached, they are killed with knives. Animals that do not make it to shore are dragged onto the beach with metal hooks.

Their carcasses are then dragged ashore and distributed to locals for their meat and fat.

When is dolphin hunting in the Faroe Islands?

Last year’s controversial hunt, during which 1,400 dolphins were killed, took place in September, but hunts are usually held in the summer months.

What has been the response in the Faroe Islands and internationally?

In recent years, whaling and dolphin hunting has received widespread international criticism.

A petition calling on the UK to suspend its trade deal with the Faroe Islands until all whaling and dolphin hunting ends has received more than 100,000 signatures and is due to be debated in parliament this week.

There seems to be some local opposition to dolphin hunting. Following the controversy in September 2021, a poll by broadcaster Kringvarp Føroya found that while 83% of locals support the killing of pilot whales, 53% of islanders oppose the killing of the side-spined dolphin. whites.

The Faroe Islands is an island country between Iceland, Norway, and Scotland in the North Atlantic Ocean. The closest country to the Faroe Islands is Scotland.

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