Faroe Islands to Limit Dolphin Hunt at 500 After Public Outcry

The Faroe Islands will provisionally limit its controversial dolphin hunt to 500 animals after a public outcry over the practice.

“An annual catch limit of 500 white-sided dolphins has now been proposed by the Ministry of Fisheries on a provisional basis for 2022 and 2023,” the government of the Danish autonomous territory announced on July 10.

The Faroese government said the move was in response to the “unusually large catch” of 1,423 dolphins last Sept. 14 in the bay of Skálafjørður, which sparked widespread criticism, even from groups involved in the practice.

According to records, last year’s catch was the largest number of dolphins ever killed in a single day in the Faroe Islands.

“Aspects of that catch were not satisfactory, in particular the unusually large number of dolphins killed. This made procedures difficult to manage and is unlikely to be a sustainable level of catch on a long-term annual basis,” the government said.

A petition with 3.1 million signatures calling for a ban on the hunt was submitted to the Faroese government, prompting a review.

However, the Faroese government also stated that the hunt serves as “an important supplement to the livelihoods of Faroe Islanders, who have for centuries relied on the sustainable use of marine resources for their economy and local food security.”

Hunters in the remote islands have practiced the traditional hunting of sea mammals — known as “grindadrap”, or “grind” for short — for hundreds of years and claimed that it has fed them for centuries.

Only the dolphin hunt is currently being reviewed, not the entire “grind” tradition.

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