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On Sunday night, September 12th, a super-pod of 1428 Atlantic White-Sided Dolphins was driven for many hours and for around 45 km by speed boats and jet-skis into the shallow water at Skálabotnur beach in the Danish Faroe Islands, where every single one of them was killed.

241531232 290609419540797 3899861723064383300 nImages of the grind from September 12th at Skálafjörður. Scroll for more. WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

Sea Shepherd believes this to be the largest single hunt of dolphins or pilot whales in Faroese history (the next largest being 1200 pilot whales back in 1940), and is possibly the largest single hunt of cetaceans ever recorded worldwide.

While Sea Shepherd has been fighting to stop the ‘Grind’ since the early 1980’s, this latest dolphin massacre was so brutal and badly mishandled that it is no surprise the hunt is being criticized in the Faroese media and even by many outspoken pro-whalers and politicians in the Faroe Islands.

According to locals who shared videos and photos with Sea Shepherd, this hunt broke several Faroese laws regulating the Grind. First, the Grind foreman for the district was never informed and therefore never authorized the hunt. Instead, it was another district’s foreman who called the Grind without the proper authority.

Second, many participants of the hunt had no license, which is required in the Faroe Islands, since it involves specific training in how to quickly kill the pilot whales and dolphins. However, footage shows many of the dolphins were still alive and moving even after being thrown onshore with the rest of their dead pod.

Third, photos show many of the dolphins had been run over by motorboats, essentially hacked by propellers, which would have resulted in a slow and painful death. According to locals, the hunt has been reported to the Faroese police for these violations.

241087887 440485590832391 4369715132869068550 nDolphin injured by boat propeller in the grind on September 12th at Skálafjörður.

Normally meat from a grindadrap is shared amongst the participants and any remainder among the locals in the district where the hunt takes place. However there is more dolphin meat from this hunt than anyone wants to take, so the dolphins are being offered to other districts in the hopes of not having to dump it.

The Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet published interviews with locals, whose full names are redacted for their families’ safety, explaining how a lot of Faroese are furious with what happened. “My guess is that most of the dolphins will be thrown in the trash or in a hole in the ground,” said one. “We should have quotas per district, and we should not kill dolphins,” said another. One local has asked Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen to investigate the matter, saying “If she expresses her criticism, then it will also be easier for the locals who want this barbaric tradition stopped.” Others express worry that the international press showing the slaughtered dolphins put their exports at risk (the Faroe Islands export salmon to the UK, US, and Russia).

Even the local Faroese press, usually reluctant to publish anything against the hunt, quotes Hans Jacob Hermansen, former chairman of the Grind, saying the killing was unnecessary.

“For such a hunt to take place in 2021 in very wealthy European island community just 230 miles from the UK with no need or use for such a vast quantity of contaminated meat is outrageous” – Rob Read, COO at Sea Shepherd

To get a sense of scale; this single hunt of 1428 Atlantic White Sided Dolphins at Skálabotnur approaches the Japanese government quota for the entire 6-month dolphins killing/capture at the infamous ‘Cove’ at Taiji in Japan, and significantly exceeds the numbers actually killed in any recent years of the Taiji killing season.

This cruel and unnecessary hunt was carried out towards the end of the summer when the Faroese have already killed 615 long finned pilot whales, bringing the total number of cetaceans killed in 2021 in the Faroe Islands to a shocking 2043.

"Considering the times we are in, with a global pandemic and the world coming to a halt, it's absolutely appalling to see an attack on nature of this scale in the Faroe Islands. If we have learned anything from this pandemic is that we have to live in harmony with nature instead of wiping it out." – Captain Alex Cornelissen, Sea Shepherd Global

Each year, Sea Shepherd encounters more and more locals in the Faroe Islands who are opposed to the Grind, but who unable to speak out publicly for fear of reprisals. We will continue to support their efforts to bring an end to the ongoing slaughter of Pilot Whales and other dolphins.

SEE GRIND VIDEO BELOW (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES)



For more information, statistics and latest news about the grind hunts, visit Sea Shepherd's Bloody Fjords campaign website or FB page.

Hi-res images and video reel: https://minerva.seashepherdglobal.org/share.cgi?ssid=9a710e4c37c24a18bf0c10a0641f5ffa

Send Press and Media requests to:
faroes@seashepherduk.org
media@seashepherduk.org
media@seashepherdglobal.org

Federal environmental prosecutors and Peruvian Coast Guard sailors intervene against numerous maritime violations during a successful joint operation with conservationists.  All photos by Sea Shepherd.

 Sea Shepherd Ocean WarriorSea Shepherd Ocean Warrior

In October 2020, U.S.-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and Sea Shepherd Legal entered into an official agreement, known as a Convenio, with FEMA - Peru’s office of Prosecutors Specialized in Environmental Matters. This partnership supports the Peruvian government’s efforts to monitor its sovereign waters by granting officials access to a civilian offshore patrol vessel that accommodates environmental prosecutors, complemented by prosecution and policy guidance provided by Sea Shepherd Legal. 

Prosecutor & Coast GuardProsecutor & Coast Guard

On June 16 and 17 of this year, a small-scale Peruvian trawler, Don Santos, was observed fishing within Peru’s 5 nautical mile inshore exclusion zone off the coast of Tumbes. All unauthorized fishing is banned in this protected area. The coast guard boarded the vessel upon the request of Peruvian prosecutors, who detected the incursion by radar from the bridge of Ocean Warrior.  

The trawler Don SantosThe trawler Don Santos

The inspection revealed that the trawler’s satellite monitoring system, a shipboard transceiver that acts as a transponder and allows for vessel movement to be monitored by law enforcement, had not been operational since 2018 and that the fishing vessel may have discarded its catch overboard prior to boarding in an attempt to destroy evidence.  

The trawler Don SantosThe trawler Don Santos with Coast Guard

The Don Santos received fines for operating without a functioning satellite monitoring system, fishing within the inshore exclusion zone, and destroying evidence. The vessel is further prohibited from resuming fishing operations until these three fines are paid. 

The mission also revealed that two additional Peruvian trawlers, Mi Pastor and Señor Cautivo, were fishing without using the satellite monitoring system. Additionally, Mi Pastor did not possess a valid fishing license for the Tumbes area. Upon the request of Peruvian prosecutors, coast guard officials boarded Mi Pastor and Señor Cautivo and subsequently directed them back to port for detention. 

Earlier in the month, three local boats were observed fishing illegally for scallops within the 2 nautical mile inshore exclusion zone off the coast of Lobos de Tierra while also using spearfishing guns to poach octopus. Environmental prosecutors are using photographic evidence obtained by the Ocean Warrior drone to build criminal cases. 

“Illegal fishing is only possible because the oceans are often out of sight and out of mind for law enforcement authorities,” said Peter Hammarstedt, Director of Campaigns for Sea Shepherd. “This is why Sea Shepherd is proud to support the leadership of FEMA in this government initiative to get eyes on the water by bringing prosecutors to the scene of the crime where Peru’s unique marine wildlife is at the greatest risk.”

Peru’s waters are home to an abundance of marine life, including more than 30 species of whales and dolphins, over 60 species of sharks, and the largest anchovy population in the world. A number of the shark species found in Peruvian waters are at risk of extinction.  

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society provides a civilian offshore patrol vessel to assist federal environmental prosecutors in observing at-risk and migratory species and monitoring the area for threats to biodiversity. Additionally, Sea Shepherd Legal assists prosecutors and other officials with applying domestic and international law and ensuring that potential gaps in policies are identified and addressed.

Ocean Warrior provides Peruvian environmental prosecutors with a platform to obtain data on the extent of illegal fishing activity in the waters of Peru, extending the long arm of the law to the sea,” said Dr. Flor de María Vega Zapata, National Coordinating Superior Prosecutor for FEMA. “This successful first mission has netted three trawlers and three local fishing boats, highlighting why it is imperative for FEMA to have its specialized prosecutors working at sea, and showing what is possible through innovative collaboration with civil society, like Sea Shepherd.”

Bloody FjordsEvery year in the Faroe Islands around 850 small cetaceans, primarily long finned pilot whales and Atlantic white-sided dolphins, are cruelly killed in dolphin drive hunts called ‘grindadráp’ in Faroese.

Sea Shepherd was first activist group in the Faroes in 1983, with further direct-action campaigns in 1985, 1986, 2000, 2011, 2014 and 2015. Then due to vessel restrictions directed at Sea Shepherd as well as new Faroese legislation preventing interventions from any activists against the grindadrap - Sea Shepherd UK launched ‘Operation Bloody Fjords’ with land-based crew being sent to the islands every year since 2016 to investigate, document and expose the barbaric hunts to the world to bring pressure on the Faroese to finally end the grindadráp.

During 2020 our ground crew patrolled for over 2 months when COVID-19 travel restrictions were eventually lifted. Operation Bloody Fjords over recent years has generated many hundreds of international online and printed news articles, as well as featuring in radio and TV programs. However, the Danish Media rarely reported on the dolphin killings around the Faroe Islands, so Sea Shepherd UK and Sea Shepherd Scandinavia reached out to respected and recognised Danish activists to join the campaign and we were very pleased to have nine Danish activists last year in the Faroe Islands working alongside our UK volunteers.

Pilot whales killed at Hvannasund on the 16th August 2018 (photo - Sea Shepherd UK)

There were no grindadrap hunts while our crews patrolled in August and September (typically the peak months for grindadrap hunts). However, three grindadrap hunts did happen during despite COVID lockdowns or physical distancing restrictions in the Faroes while pilot whales were killed during a tagging exercise and two small pods of Northern Bottlenose whales were killed after they stranded. The total of cetaceans killed in 2020 was 539 long finned pilot whales, 35 Atlantic white sided dolphins and 11 Northern bottlenose whales during the following:

  • 18 long finned pilot whales killed during a shambolic scientific tagging exercise on the 6th June at Bour.
  • 252 long finned pilot whales and 35 Atlantic white sided dolphins killed in a grindadrap hunt on 15th July at Hvalba.
  • 193 long finned pilot whales killed in a grindadrap hunt on 30th July at Sandur.
  • 6 Northern Bottlenose Whales were killed on the 17th August at Sandvik after they stranded.
  • 5 Northern Bottlenose Whales were killed after they stranded which our crew filmed and livestreamed online on 19th August at Hvalba.
  • 66 long finned pilot whales were killed in a grindadrap hunt on 16th October at Hvalvik

Sea Shepherd’s determination to end the grindadrap now continues with the 6th year of ‘Operation Bloody Fjords’ - our 13th campaign season on the Faroe Islands with more Danish and Scandinavian crew than ever before.

During 2020 (thanks especially to our Danish crew) we started to find we have new signs of support in the Faroe Islands, not only against the grindadrap hunts but also for other Sea Shepherd campaigns around the world.  This year our volunteer crew will do everything we can to engage with and encourage more Faroese citizens to speak out against the hunts, to support Sea Shepherd campaigns around the world, and look towards establishing, hopefully in the near future a ‘Sea Shepherd Faroe Islands’ chapter.

Sea Shepherd also continues our campaign for international pressure on the Faroe Islands to end the pilot whale and dolphin hunts. We call upon both compassionate citizens and companies to boycott especially Faroese seafood products, for tourists to choose more whale and dolphin friendly destinations, and for Cruise Ship Companies to reconsider any future visits to the islands until the grindadráp hunts are ended forever.

Grindadrap at Hvalvik of Atlantic White Sided Dolphins on 11th September 2018 (Photo – Sea Shepherd UK)Grindadrap at Hvalvik of Atlantic White Sided Dolphins on 11th September 2018 (Photo – Sea Shepherd UK)

 

Further information on the Faroese Grindadráp hunts:

The grindadráp (or ‘grind’ as the hunts are commonly called) can happen at any time at any of the 26 designated killing bays around the islands, with most of the hunts occurring between June and September. 

The grindadráp has no quota and the Faroese rarely do not authorize a hunt when a pod is spotted near the coastline. The hunts are merciless as every member of the pod is killed including pregnant mothers, juveniles, and weaning calves. The grindadráp would be totally illegal under European Union legislation, because in the EU (including the kingdom of Denmark) is illegal to kill, harass or stress any cetaceans. Despite the Kingdom of Denmark being in the EU, the Faroe Islands is not, although the islands are within Europe and benefits substantially from subsidies of around $100million (USD equivalent) from Denmark as well as having free trade agreements with the EU.

The pilot whale meat which is contaminated by DDT, PCB and industrial heavy metal pollutants including mercury - poisons not only the Faroese people, but also tourists. The hunts are fully sanctioned by the Faroese government, defended by the Kingdom of Denmark (via the Danish Navy, Police and Court systems) and is continued as little more than a national sport poorly justified with arguments of sustainability, history and culture. 

Due to its lucrative fishing and fish farming industries, the Faroese economy has prospered with the islanders per capita GDP comparable with other wealthy Scandinavian countries and comprehensive year-round imports of food and commodities from around the world. The current unemployment level is just 1.7% with near zero poverty recorded in the Faroes - yet still the islands still receive an annual subsidy from Denmark equivalent to $100m (USD). 

“The grindadráp is a barbaric relic of a bygone age. A needless hunt of hundreds of pilot whales and dolphins which should have ended a century ago which is not needed to feed anyone on the islands” -

Robert Read, COO at Sea Shepherd UK.

 

The web pages for Operation Bloody Fjords are at: https://www.seashepherd.org.uk/campaigns/operation-bloody-fjords/ 

The Facebook page for the campaign is at: 
https://www.facebook.com/OpBloodyFjords/  

Please help support Sea Shepherd UK’s campaigns in the Faroe Islands by donating to our charity at:  https://www.seashepherd.org.uk/support-us/donate-monthly.html 

In less than two days, armed Sierra Leone Navy sailors stationed on board the Sea Shepherd ship Bob Barker carried out a series of covert at-sea raids on fishing vessels in the waters of the West African country of Sierra Leone, arresting five trawlers for illegal fishing.

Captain Peter Hammarstedt and Sierra Leone Navy on board arrested trawlerCaptain Peter Hammarstedt and Sierra Leone Navy on board arrested trawler

In the early morning hours of the 14th of March, two trawlers that had spent the night anchored outside of an inshore exclusion zone (IEZ) reserved for artisanal fishermen were detected by radar making way into the protected area with their nets in the water. Two rigid hull inflatable boats from Bob Barker transported a law enforcement detachment of Sierra Leone Navy sailors who surprised, boarded and arrested the fishing vessels Friendship 806 and Friendship 888 in waters saturated with small-scale fishing pirogues, approximately one nautical mile inside the IEZ. Both trawlers were fishing without a license and were transmitting false electronic identifying information, one of them was appropriating the identity of another vessel fishing over 7,000 nautical miles away in the Pacific Ocean.

Sierra Leone Navy on board Sea Shepherd small boat Sierra Leone Navy on board Sea Shepherd small boat

In Sierra Leone, more than 200,000 people work in small-scale fisheries. To safeguard the environment and to protect the livelihoods of local fishers, the government of Sierra Leone instituted an IEZ where industrial and semi-industrial fishing is strictly forbidden. However, due to challenges of monitoring, control and surveillance, local fishermen report that trawlers routinely run over their canoes and nets as fish populations also decline.

Liao Dan Yu 6618 arrested for fishing without a licenseLiao Dan Yu 6618 arrested for fishing without a license

On the morning of the 15th of March, Jianmei 3 was arrested at anchor off the port of Kent on the Freetown Penninsula. Nights previously, the trawler had been documented fishing about six nautical miles inside the IEZ, just outside a marine protected area designated to conserve spawning fish. When boarded the crew were busy dismantling fishing gear, taking apart winches and trawling equipment to give inspectors the impression that the vessel had not been fishing for some time. A fishing logbook confiscated by the Sierra Leone Navy boarding team showed Jianmei 3 systematically fishing inside the IEZ on forty-four documented occasions. Jianmei 3 was arrested, placed under armed guard and brought back to Freetown. Last year, its two sister ships—Jianmei 1 and Jianmei 4—were arrested for illegal fishing and absconded from detention. Both vessels are still wanted by authorities in Sierra Leone.

Illegal catch on board arrested trawlerIllegal catch on board arrested trawler

Hours after the apprehension of Jianmei 3, two Chinese-flagged trawlers—Liao Dan Yu 6616 and Liao Dan Yu 6618—were arrested for fishing without a license. Liao Dan Yu 6618 was carrying two separate sets of registration documents and the captain was attempting to destroy evidence when the Sierra Leone Navy breached the wheelhouse. The captain was trying to shred proof that his fishing license had been expired for one month.

Sierra Leone Navy boarding Jianmei 3Sierra Leone Navy boarding Jianmei 3

“After the arrest of Liao Dan Yu 6616 and Liao Dan Yu 6618, the remaining eleven vessels belonging to the same fleet all set course for Freetown to avoid inspections. Vessels from other fleets also retreated to safe harbor when they received news that a patrol was underway. It is the belief of Sea Shepherd and the Sierra Leone Navy that none of them had valid fishing licenses”, said Captain Peter Hammarstedt, Sea Shepherd’s Director of Campaigns.

Friendship 888 and 806 caught inside protected areaFriendship 888 and 806 caught inside protected area

The arrest of five trawlers in the waters of Sierra Leone marks the start of Operation Sierra Leone Coastal Defense, Sea Shepherd’s eighth government partnership on the continent of Africa.

Under the leadership of Sierra Leone’s Minister of Defense and National Security, the Honorable Brigadier General (Rtd) Kellie Conteh, Sea Shepherd is supporting the Sierra Leone Navy to conduct patrols at-sea to combat illegal fishing through the assistance of Sea Shepherd crew and the Sea Shepherd vessel Bob Barker.

Sierra Leone Navy boards Liao Dan Yu 6618Sierra Leone Navy boards Liao Dan Yu 6618

“The Ministry of Defense and National Security will act decisively against any violators of Sierra Leone’s sovereign laws. These fishing vessels are plundering our waters, stealing from local fishermen and the people of Sierra Leone. These five arrests send the strong message that if you are caught fishing without a license then you will be arrested by the Sierra Leone Navy and you will be prosecuted to the furthest extent of the law”, said Hon. Brigadier General (Rtd) Kellie Coneth.

Sierra Leone Navy on board Sea Shepherd small boatSierra Leone Navy on board Sea Shepherd small boat

Since 2016, Sea Shepherd has also been working in partnership with the governments of Gabon, Liberia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania, Namibia, The Gambia and Benin to combat fisheries crime by providing the use of civilian offshore patrol vessels to African coastal and island States so that authorities can enforce fisheries regulations and conservation laws in their sovereign waters. To date, the unique partnerships have resulted in the arrest of 67 vessels for illegal fishing and other fisheries crimes.

Photos by Alice Gregoire/Sea Shepherd

Sierra Leone Navy arrests trawlers inside protected areaSierra Leone Navy arrests trawlers inside protected area

Sierra Leone Navy sailor on board arrested trawlerSierra Leone Navy sailor on board arrested trawler

Jianmei 3 arrested in the port of KentJianmei 3 arrested in the port of Kent

Sierra Leone Navy on board arrested Liao Dan Yu 6618Sierra Leone Navy on board arrested Liao Dan Yu 6618

Sierra Leone Navy on board arrested Liao Dan Yu 6618Sierra Leone Navy on board arrested Liao Dan Yu 6618

 Local fishermen off the coast of Sierra LeoneLocal fishermen off the coast of Sierra Leone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SSUK Education school speakerSea Shepherd UK is excited to launch our new Education Site, showcasing a growing library of both teacher resources and student self-led activities. From UK-wide competitions to informative student-friendly videos, Sea Shepherd UK’s Education Site aims to broaden the message of marine conservation and protection within the UK’s education framework.

Created by Sea Shepherd UK’s own volunteer team made up of teachers and experienced Sea Shepherd activists - Sea Shepherd UK’s Education Site is designed to complement the UK school curriculum for all key stages. Our teacher resources link to both the national curriculum and exam boards to ensure that information is relevant for the classroom while our student activities offer a wide array of self-led tasks for pupils to learn about the vast marine ecosystem and Sea Shepherd campaigns in a child-friendly manner.

The education site also can be used to book a speaker for in-person or remote talks or debates to discuss Sea Shepherd’s campaigns or marine conservation issues relevant to individual Key Stages. From GCSE Biology or Geography to Key Stage 1 information of the food chain and marine pollution, our speakers will work with you to develop talks and activities to fit your curriculum and audience.

Are you a teacher and interested in sharing your passion for marine conservation?
Arm yourself with first-hand information about environmental issues and marine conservation using Sea Shepherd UK’s ever-growing resource bank on our Education Site at: https://education.seashepherd.org.uk/
Keep up to date by signing up to our quarterly Education Newsletter so you will be notified of new resources, competitions and student-friendly news related to marine conservation and protection.

Young Sea Shepherd Pirates!
Pillage the ever-growing selection of activities, take part in our competitions, and learn about our precious seas with our videos!

Rebecca Powell
Sea Shepherd UK Education Project coordinator
Email: education@seashepherduk.org

SSUK education artwork Camilo age 10 Haywards Heath

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Sea Shepherd news articles from 2012 and earlier.

For articles from 2013 and newer, visit our Sea Shepherd News page.

 
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