New threat to dolphins from brutal new Faroe Islands hunting quota

Conservation news


After global outcry in response to an unprecedented massacre in September 2021, the Faroe Islands have formalised dolphin hunts.

An announcement by the Faroes Fisheries Ministry has established an annual quota for Atlantic white-sided dolphins, in response to a hunt in September 2021 that killed more than 1400 animals.

However, despite dressing this up as a positive move, this represents a huge backwards step in terms of cetacean conservation in the Faroes. The local community have made it clear that this is not a part of their tradition and that there is no demand for Atlantic white-sided dolphin meat, so to move to formalise this hunt is astonishingly short-sighted.

The quota of 500 animals per year will apply for 2022 and 2023, but worryingly, the language in the statement from the Faroese Government suggests that they believe as many as 825 dolphins would be “sustainable”, raising concerns that this number could increase from 2024 onwards.

In response to the announcement, ORCA Director, Sally Hamilton, said:

“This announcement by the Faroese Government is farcical.

“What the Faroes have done is formalise something that was previously unformalised – sanctioning the slaughter when it was never previously clear how many dolphins would be killed annually - if any at all.

“This is nothing but spin and bluster and they need to be called out for pretending it's anything other than formalising the industrial butchery of these magnificent creatures. The Faroes has become an abattoir for marine mammals and seem unconcerned at the international outrage and condemnation this is causing.”

This new development comes around 24 hours before a debate in Parliament around the free-trade agreement the UK has with the Faroes.

ORCA are supporting a petition by Born Free calling for a suspension of the agreement until all whale and dolphin hunting in the Faroes is ended.