Animals. The Faroe Islands (temporarily) limit their hunting quota to 500 dolphins per year

The practice is particularly controversial. The Faroe Islands announced on Sunday that they would limit the number of dolphins that its inhabitants hunt to 500 per year. This measure will be in effect for 2022 and 2023.

The quota was set after the « unusually large catch » of 1,423 white-sided dolphins last September, the Danish self-governing territory’s government said. « Aspects of this catch were unsatisfactory, in particular the unusually high number of dolphins killed, » he acknowledged, adding, « it is unlikely to be a sustainable level of catch… long-term « .

A review of the practice was launched in February after a petition calling for a ban on this traditional hunt was submitted to the Faroese government. The text had collected nearly 1.3 million signatures.

Controversial practice

In the Faroese tradition, hunters surround the dolphins with a wide semi-circle of fishing boats and lead them into a shallow bay where they are stranded. Fishermen on the shore kill cetaceans with knives. Every summer, images of this bloody hunt make headlines around the world and spark outrage among animal rights activists who consider the practice barbaric.

But the hunt still enjoys wide support in the Faroe Islands, where its supporters point out that the animals have fed the local population for centuries. On Sunday, the government stressed that the captures were an “important supplement to the livelihoods of the people of the Faroe Islands” and considered that the capture of dolphins was done in an “environmentally sustainable” way.

Given current stocks, the government said an annual quota of around 825 dolphins would be « well below sustainable limits », but recommended 500 as an interim limit. After the opinion of the scientific committee of the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission, expected for 2024, it will re-examine the provisional quota. The government said it would also assess the procedures used to kill the dolphins.


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