On the evening of Sunday, September 12, a large group of 1,428 Atlantic white-sided dolphins were persecuted for many hours and for about 45 km by fast boats and jet skis in order to force them to travel to the shallow waters of Skálabotnur beach in the Danish Faroe Islands, where each of them was killed.
Images of the September 12 killing in Skálafjörður. Scroll down to find out more. DISCLAIMER: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Sea Shepherd estimates this to be the largest dolphin or pilot whale hunt in Faroe Islands history (the second largest being 1,200 pilot whales in 1940), and possibly the largest whale hunt ever recorded in the world.
While Sea Shepherd has been fighting to stop the "Grind" since the early 1980s, this latest dolphin slaughter has been so brutal and poorly handled that it is no surprise that the hunt is criticized in the Faroese media and even by many pro-whalers and politicians in the Faroe Islands.
According to locals who shared videos and photos with Sea Shepherd, this hunt violated several Faroese laws regulating the Grind. First of all, the District Foreman Grind was never informed and therefore never authorized the hunt. Instead, it was the foreman from another district who called the Grind without the proper authority.
Second, many participants in the hunt did not have a permit, which is required in the Faroe Islands, as it involves specific training on how to kill pilot whales and dolphins quickly. However, the footage shows that many dolphins were still alive and moving even after being thrown ashore with the rest of their dead fellows.
Third, photos show that many dolphins had been run over by motor boats, mostly horribly injured by propellers, which were said to have resulted in slow and painful deaths. According to locals, the hunt was reported to Faroe Islands police for these violations.
Dolphin injured by the propeller of a boat in the September 12 massacre in Skálafjörður.
Normally, the meat of a grindadrap is shared among the participants and everything remains between the inhabitants of the district where the hunt takes place. However, there is more dolphin meat obtained during this hunt than anyone wants to take, so dolphins are offered to other districts in the hope that they don't have to throw it away.
Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet published interviews with locals, whose full names are not mentioned as a safety measure for their families, explaining how many Faroese are furious at what has happened. “I guess most dolphins will be thrown in the garbage or in a hole in the ground,” one said. “We should have district quotas, and we shouldn't kill dolphins,” said another. A resident asked Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen to investigate the case, saying: “If she voices her criticism, then it will also be easier for the locals who want this barbaric tradition to end. "
Others are concerned that the international press showing the slaughtered dolphins is jeopardizing their exports (the Faroe Islands export salmon to the UK, US and Russia).
Even the local Faroe Islands press, generally reluctant to publish anything against the hunt, quotes Hans Jacob Hermansen, former president of the Grind, as saying the murder was unnecessary.
“For such a hunt to take place in 2021 in a very wealthy European island community only 370 km from the UK without the need for or use of such a large amount of contaminated meat is outrageous” - Rob Read, COO at Sea Shepherd
To get an idea of the scale; this unique hunt of 1,428 Atlantic white-sided dolphins in Skálabotnur is approaching the Japanese government's quota for the entire 6 months of dolphin killing / capture in the infamous Taiji "cove" in Japan, and significantly exceeds the number actually killed in the final years of Taiji killing season.
This cruel and pointless hunt was carried out in late summer when the Faroese have already killed 615 longfin pilot whales, bringing the total number of cetaceans killed in 2021 in the Faroe Islands to a shocking 2043. .
“Given the times we find ourselves in, with a global pandemic and the world shutting down, it is absolutely appalling to see an attack on nature of this magnitude in the Faroe Islands.
If we have learned anything from this pandemic, it is that we need to live in harmony with nature instead of destroying it. "- Captain Alex Cornelissen, Sea Shepherd Global
Every year, Sea Shepherd meets more and more residents of the Faroe Islands who are opposed to the Grind, but who cannot speak out publicly for fear of reprisals. We will continue to support their efforts to end the continuing slaughter of pilot whales and other dolphins.
SEE GRIND VIDEO BELOW (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES)