Faroe Islands: It simply has to stop!

September 17, 2021

The recent news from the Faroe Islands of a massive dolphin kill there on September 12th has caused concerns to be voiced all over the world and also in the islands themselves. Almost 1,500 Atlantic white-sided dolphins were killed in a single event. This is an unprecedently large number of animals and may even be the largest number of dolphins ever killed anywhere in a single hunt.

The Faroe Islands are well known for their continued whaling activity, which is mainly focused on pilot whales but occasionally smaller dolphins are targeted too.

The animals were driven ashore by a line of vessels and then when stranded in the shallows, secured and killed using a ‘spinal lance’ (a specially-developed thin sharp instrument) inserted behind their blow holes. In the islands the criticisms seem to have focused on the very high number of dolphins killed and whether there were enough experienced hunters present to kill the animals swiftly.

We also question whether there can be any real need for this source of food and, whilst we respect the need to maintain traditions as inherent parts of human cultures, where animal cruelty is involved, believe this should be ended. We hope that the dolphin hunting will now end along with the pilot whale hunt.

The concerns of the islanders themselves have clearly reached the ears of the Faroese Prime Minister Bárður á Steig Nielsen, and we are pleased to see that he will “start an evaluation of the regulations on the catching of Atlantic white-sided dolphins”.

OceanCare encourages this evaluation to be extended to all the whale and dolphin hunting in the Faroe Island and to the future of the drive hunt practise in general!

OceanCare is in now in contact with many stakeholders and decision makers and working towards the full protection for all whales and dolphins from direct hunts across the whole of Europe, including in the Faroe Islands which lie just over 220 miles off the Scottish coast.

Call to Action

OceanCare encourages concerned individuals to write to the Danish Embassy in their home country stating their concerns about the dolphin and whale killing in the Faroe island and, additionally, to write to their own minister with responsibility for biodiversity. The conservation and protection of Europe’s whales, dolphins and porpoises require all of Europe to work together and the killing in the Faroe Islands is a huge challenge to this.

Further information

The Faroese Islands are an autonomic region within the Danish Kingdom. They are not a Member of the European Union. Atlantic White-sided dolphins are strictly protected under the EU’s Species and Habitats Directive which prevents any direct takes of this and other whale and dolphin species.