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A Bloody Summer in the Fjords: Let Your Politicians Know!

Thursday, Sep 07, 2017

As of September 1st 1108 pilot whales and 269 white-sided dolphins have been killed in 21 grindadráp hunts in the Faroe Isands this year, making it the second highest slaughter in the past decade, and the fifth highest in the past 17 years. And the year isn’t over. There is no “season” for the slaughter of these defenseless pilot whales and white-sided dolphins, who can be killed throughout the year if spotted migrating through the Faroe Islands. Help Sea Shepherd put an end to this by asking your national European Parliament representative to begin infringement proceedings against Denmark for supporting and facilitating the grind.

Sea Shepherd’s Ongoing Campaign in the Faroe Islands

First, the Faroese changed their local laws regarding the Grind to make it easier to arrest and prosecute anyone trying to prevent the slaughters. One of our captains, after herding a pod of dolphins *away* from the killing beaches and out to safety, was even convicted of “harassing dolphins”. Second, and most significantly for Sea Shepherd, the Danish government stepped in with naval ships, police and customs agents to protect the grind from any activists. These Danish authorities intercepted, boarded and impounded our ships and small boats, and arrested our crew and land volunteers.

As long as the Danish authorities are involved in this way to protect and facilitate the grind, any Sea Shepherd presence is a danger to the freedom of our volunteers and a useless waste of our limited resources. That is why Operation Bloody Fjords, started in 2016, is an ongoing campaign to challenge the legality of this through the European Commission. As Denmark is part of the EU and therefore obliged to uphold the EU laws forbidding the capture or harm to any cetaceans, their assistance to the Faroe Islands clearly goes against this. We’ve already submitted your petition of over 250k signatures to the European Commission in May. Since then, there have been hundreds more pilot whales and white-sided dolphins slaughtered in the Faroe Islands. What else can you do?

Pilot whales slaughtered in July in Hvannasund. Photo submitted to Sea Shepherd.

Let your national MEP (Member of the European Parliament) know how you feel about Denmark’s continued facilitation of the Grind, and ask them to support Sea Shepherd’s request to start infringement proceedings in the European Commission: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/map.html 

These MEPs have already shown their support for infringement proceedings:

Richard CORBETT, UK
Jacqueline FOSTER, UK
David MARTIN, UK
Molly SCOTT CATO, UK
Keith TAYLOR, UK
Pascal DURAND, France
Yannick JADOT, France
Younous OMARJEE, France
Michèle RIVASI, France
Stefan ECK, Germany
Martin HÄUSLING, Germany
Bas EICKHOUT, The Netherlands
Anja HAZEKAMP, The Netherlands
Linnéa ENGSTRÖM, Denmark
Heidi HAUTALA, Denmark
Eleonora EVI, Italy
Benedek JÁVOR, Hungary
Tamás MESZERICS, Hungary
Miltiadis KYRKOS, Greece 
Florent MARCELLESI, Spain
Carolina PUNSET, Spain
Pavel POC, Czech Republic
Emil RADEV, Bulgaria
Frédérique RIES, Belgium
Bart STAES, Belgium
Igor SOLTES, Slovenia
Claude TURMES, Luxembourg 

A baby pilot whale cut from its mother's womb after the Hvannasund grind on July 5th. Photo submitted to Sea Shepherd.

We Condemn the Actions, Not the People
Sea Shepherd is fighting to stop the slaughter of pilot whales and other dolphins, not to demonize the Faroese people. There are Faroese who are against the grindadráp. There are Faroese Sea Shepherd supporters. There are Faroese who are compassionate towards cetaceans. John Johannesen is one of them. We interviewed him about his views on the grindadráp and Faroese culture: The Grind and Faroese Culture

They Slaughter Dolphins, Don’t They?
In addition to wiping out entire families of long-finned pilot whales, the Faroese who participate in the grind are also driving smaller dolphins to their death, killing 269 white-sided dolphins so far this year. This makes a lot of people on the island uneasy – it’s not part of the “tradition” since it would have been almost impossible to chase these faster dolphins before power boats were used – and therefore images of their slaughter are often hidden from public view.

There have been 269 white-sided dolphins killed in the grindadráp so far this year. Photo submitted to Sea Shepherd.

For Survival or Commercial Gain?

The Faroese press erupted in debate this August when the local 'Dimmalætting' newspaper posted a front-page article with the title "25,000 KRONER FOR ONE WHALE" about the commercialization of the Faroese grindadráp. It mentions the recent selling of Atlantic white-sided dolphin meat from a hunt this year for 675 kroner per kilo, a general value of 10,000 kroner being typical for one pilot whale (US$1600/EU€1345), but with offers as high as 100,000 kroner being made for just four pilot whales. Pilot whale and dolphin is sold in Faroese restaurants, in local stores and openly at market stands, so there can be no doubt that many Faroese are profiting from the grindadráp, despite the claim that the meat from the slaughtered pilot whales and dolphins is only distributed to locals for their personal consumption and survival.

Pilot whale and white-sided dolphin meat is easily found in Faroese markets for sale. Photo submitted to Sea Shepherd.

Sister City or Blood Brothers?

Perhaps feeling the pressure of the Sea Shepherd Australia campaign to end Broome’s shameful “Sister City” relationship with the Japanese town of Taiji, also known for its whale and dolphin hunts, the Mayor of Taiji has just announced this summer that they are courting Klaksvik in the Faroe Islands to be their new Sister City. To date, the “relationship” appears to be one-sided. But it shows the Faroe Islands have found themselves in company similarly condemned by the international community for the slaughter of cetaceans..

On August 5th, two grinds in the Faroes killed 134 white-sided dolphins and 39 pilot whales. Photo submitted to Sea Shepherd.

2017 Grind Statistics

1.    May 21st at Bøur - 83 Long-finned pilot whales killed after a 4-hour chase
2.    June 16th at Tórshavn - 164 Long-finned pilot whales
3.    June 16th at Skálabotnur - 8 White-sided dolphins
4.    June 26th at Hvalvík - 157 Long-finned pilot whales, 51 White-sided dolphins
5.    June 29th at Tjørnuvík - 43 Long-finned pilot whales after being chased for 16 nautical miles
6.    July 5th at Hvannasund - 70 Long-finned pilot whales, including 4 pregnant females
7.    July 8th at Hvannasund - 71 Long-finned pilot whales
8.    July 9th at Tórshavn - 26 Long-finned pilot whales
9.    July 10th at Skálabotnur - 2 Long-finned pilot whales
10.  July 16th at Vágur - 30 Long-finned pilot whales & 12 White-sided dolphins
11.  July 17th at Hvannasund - 191 Long-finned pilot whales
12.  July 25th at Syðrugøta - 16 White-sided dolphins
13.  August 5th at Funningsfjørður - 133 White-sided dolphins
14.  August 5th at Hvannasund - 39 Long-finned pilot whales & 1 White-sided dolphin
15.  August 15th at Fámjin - 50 Long-finned pilot whales
16.  August 18th at Tórshavn - 61 Long-finned pilot whales
17.  August 20th at Borðoyarvík - 27 Long finned pilot whales
18.  August 21st at Skálabotnur - 48 White-sided dolphins after being chased for two hours
19.  August 22nd at Húsavík - 19 Long-finned pilot whales
20.  August 29th at Hvannasund - 46 Long-finned pilot whales
21.  September 1st at Bøur - 29 Long-finned pilot whales

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