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Faroe Islands limit controversial dolphin hunting quota to 500 after 2021 giant kill

The government on the tiny Faroe Islands is proposing an annual catch limit of 500 white-sided dolphins on a temporary basis for 2022 and 2023, after the slaughter of more than 1,400 dolphins in one day last year drew international condemnation and local criticism.

Hunting is part of a four-century-old traditional expedition of marine mammals to the North Atlantic islands, where they are killed for their meat and blubber. It is not commercial and authorized, but environmental activists claim it is cruel. Even the people of the Faro, who defended the traditional practice, were concerned that the hunt would attract unwanted attention as it was much larger than the previous one and appeared to be without normal organization.

On Sunday, the government said the capping measure on September 14, 2021 was “in response to an unusually large catch”. It said the proposal is expected to be implemented as an executive order by July 25.

“Aspects of that capture were not satisfactory, especially with the unusually large number of dolphins killed,” the government said in a statement. This “is unlikely to be a sustainable level of hold on a long-term annual basis.”

Local media have reported that there were too many dolphins on the beach and too few people to kill them, fearing the slaughter would revive discussions about marine mammal drives and the ancient history of 18 rocky islands located halfway. Will put a negative spin on tradition. Between Scotland and Iceland. They are semi-independent and are part of Danish territory.

According to data kept by the Faroe Islands, islanders typically kill up to 1,000 marine mammals – mainly pilot whales – annually. In 2020, that included only 35 white-sided dolphins. White-sided dolphins and pilot whales are not endangered species.

Every year, islanders take herds of mammals to the shallow waters. A blow-hole hook is used to secure the beasts in the middle and the main artery leading to their spine and brain is cut with a knife. The drive is regulated by law and meat and blubber are shared on a community basis.

The Feroze government stated that it “continues to base its policies and management measures on the right and responsibility of (its) people to make sustainable use of the ocean’s resources. This also includes marine mammals, such as pilot whales and Dolphins.”

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