Whales in the Faroes

Grey Seals (Halichoerus grypus) are very common around the coasts of the Faroe Islands.

Several species of Whales live in the waters around the Faroe Islands, in particular Short-finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala melaena), along with occassional Killer whales (Orcinus orca) visiting the Faroese fjords, which can lead to a somewhat dangerous encounter if you are in a small boat.

Whaling in the Faroe Islands

Whaling in the Faroe Islands has been practiced since about the time of the first Norse settlements on the islands. It is regulated by Faroese authorities but not by the International Whaling Commission as there are disagreements about the Commission’s competency for small cetaceans.[1][2] Around 950 Long-finned Pilot Whales (Globicephala melaena) are killed annually, mainly during the summer. The hunts, called “grindadráp” in Faroese, are non-commercial and are organized on a community level; anyone can participate. The hunters first surround the pilot whales with a wide semicircle of boats. The boats then drive the pilot whales slowly into a bay or to the bottom of a fjord.

Pilot Whales Brutally Slaughtered Annually in the Faroe Islands

Residents of the Faroe Islands, an autonomous province of Denmark, slaughter and eat pilot whales every year, as these photos graphically depict.  The Faroese are descendents of Vikings, and pilot whales have been a central part of their diet for more than 1,000 years.  They crowd these intelligent animals into a bay and kill them, cutting the dorsal area through to the spinal cord.   In the process, their main arteries get cut.  As you can see, the waters in the bay turn bright red from all the blood

Protest at ‘macabre’ pilot whale slaughter

Mutilated pilot whales line the dock at Klaksvic on the Faroe Islands, a Danish protectorate, after being slaughtered by islanders who slash and stab to death hundreds of the animals as part of an annual hunt.

Whaling.fo—English website from the Faroese Government

Pilot whales are taken for food in the Faroe Islands. Both the meat and blubber of pilot whales have long been and continue to be a staple part of the national diet. Catches of whales are shared largely without the exchange of money among the participants in a hunt and residents of the local district where they are landed. This also means that the economic value of pilot whale meat and blubber does not appear as a part of the GDP of the Faroes, but its significance can be measured against the economic and environmental costs of importing the same amount of food. An annual catch of 950 whales (the average annual catch over the past ten years, 1990-1999) is roughly equivalent to 500 tons of meat and blubber, some 30% of all meat produced locally in the Faroes.

See also