An ancestral tradition on the Faroe Islands, but nevertheless controversial among the 50,000 inhabitants and condemned by the NGO Sea Sheperd, the “grind” has generated a lot of criticism this year because of the number and breed of dolphins killed.
More than 1,400 white-sided dolphins have been stabbed by fishermen in the Faroe Islands who had previously cornered them in a bay.
Usually, pilot dolphins or pilot whales are killed in this manner. Last year 600 were shot. They are hunted for their meat.
“We don’t have a tradition of hunting these mammals, there are usually a few in the hunt, but we don’t normally kill that many.”, explained a journalist from the local public television station KVF, Hallur av Rana.
According to him, never has such a large catch been made in the archipelago. The photos showing more than a thousand bloodied cetaceans on the beach have attracted much criticism.
“It seems pretty extreme and it took a while to kill them all when it usually is quite fast.”, added Hallur av Rana, noting that 53% of the population of the archipelago was opposed to fishing for this species but that the Faroese were not considering giving up the “grind”.
Described as a “barbaric practice” by the environmental NGO Sea Sheperd, the “grind” is a sustainable hunting system, according to the Faroese authorities.
According to local estimates, there are around 100,000 pilot whales in the waters around the archipelago.