Sea of blood: Hundreds of whales and scores of dolphins are slaughtered as traditional hunt gets underway in the Faroe Islands
- The annual grindadrap on the Faroe Islands sees sup to 300 whales and dolphins slaughtered by fishermen
- The mammals’ meat is highly prized on the autonomous Danish territory and is an important source of food
- Environmental groups have previously tried to disrupt the cull and would like the slaughter of whales banned
- NGO Sea Shepherd described the event as a ‘barbarous practice’ and said it should be prohibited in future
Faroe islanders have killed around 300 pilot whales and Atlantic white-sided dolphins as they continue a 1,000-year tradition to supply the archipelago with meat for the coming year.
The grindadrap (slaughter) is a cultural mainstay of the autonomous Danish territory and continues despite the the objections of environmentalists.
But activists have long condemned the practice and environmental NGO Sea Shepherd did so again after some 250 long-finned pilot whales and some Atlantic white-sided dolphins were killed Wednesday off Hvalba, a village on the southernmost island of Suduroy.
Fishermen on the Faroe Islands rounded up a large school of whales and dolphins towards the beach
After the mammals are driven into the shallows, they are greeted by fishermen who attack them with knives
Once the whales are driven into the shallows, the fishermen kill the mammals and drag their carcasses ashore
Local media quoted Sea Shepherd as once again demanding an end to what it terms a ‘barbarous practice.’
The issue of fisherman proximity had been an issue of concern for local authorities owing to the coronavirus – the Faroes, population barely 50,000 has logged 188 cases to date but just one since April.
Fisheries Minister Jacob Vestergaard gave the go ahead on July 7 for the hunt with the proviso that everyone avoid large gatherings.
The hunt sees vessels herd the whales and dolphins in a bay whereupon fishermen wade in up to their midriffs and slaughter them with knives, leaving the sea to turn red with blood to the horror of animal rights campaigners.
Sea Shepherd managed to disrupt the 2014 season but the group has slammed legislation which authorises Danish military vessels to ensure the NGO is kept outside Faroese waters.
Faroese are divided on the practice but many urge foreign media and NGOs respect their traditional island culture where fishing retains a central place.
The fishermen wear wet suits during the slaughter which provides meat for the islands for the next 12 months
Environmental campaigners complain that the annual event, whose history stretches back 1,000 years, should be banned