Report by Robert Read – Chief Operations Officer at Sea Shepherd UK.
Sea Shepherd can now reveal that as part of our ongoing Operation Bloody Fjords we coordinated ten weeks of covert land-based patrols from July to early September this year in the Danish Faroe Islands. The patrols involved a total of 18 crew from the United Kingdom and France with the aims of exposing the continued barbaric killing of dolphins and pilot whales by the Faroese, and gaining footage and photographs to look for potential breaches in Faroese animal welfare legislation.
Centrally coordinated by Sea Shepherd UK, the crews were based in six different Faroese towns covering 19 designated whaling bays. During the ten weeks our volunteer crew who used their personal vacation time to blend in with other tourists managed to document nine separate grindadráp, which accounted for the deaths of 198 Atlantic white-sided dolphins and 436 pilot whales. Crewmembers also recorded evidence of the annual Fulmar hunt, recorded the public pilot whale butchering demonstration at Klaksvik, and -- for the first time -- the transportation of six pilot whales from a grindadráp at Hvannasund to Klaksvik and across the islands for processing and sale within the main supermarket in Torshavn.
Over the next six days we will be publishing the personal accounts and photographs submitted by six of the teams who witnessed grindadráp hunts and the butchering and sale of pilot whales and dolphins this summer.
- Team 1 (UK) based in Tórshavn recorded the Hvannasund grindadráp of 5th July during which 70 long finned pilot whales were killed.
- Team 2 (France) based in Tórshavn recorded the Hvannasund grindadráp of 17th July where 191 long finned pilot whales were killed. The team also recorded the butchering of these same pilot whales on the 18th July at Klaksvik and tracked two trucks which transported 6 pilot whales all the way to a fish processing company in the capital Torshavn and the resulting sale of pilot whale meat and blubber in the largest Faroese supermarket less than 48 hours later.
- Team 3 (UK) were based in Tórshavn and recorded the Sydrugota dolphin hunt of 25th July where 16 Atlantic white sided dolphins were killed and butchered in a nearby shed.
- Team 5 (UK) based in Saltangará extensively recorded the Funningsfjordur dolphin hunt of 5th August where a large pod of 133 Atlantic white sided dolphins were killed. The team also recorded the butchering of 39 long finned pilot whales and 1 white sided dolphin at Hvannasund on the 6th August.
- Team 7 (UK) were based in Tórshavn and recorded the grindadráp of 61 long finned pilot whales on the 18th August. The team also recorded the Skálabotnur dolphin hunt on 21st August where 48 Atlantic white sided dolphins were killed and documented the Klaksvik Harbour Open Day butchering of a single adult pilot whale which had been stored from a previous hunt specifically for the sickening public demonstration.
- Team 8 (UK) were based in Klaksvík and recorded the Hvannasund grindadráp on 29th August of 46 long finned pilot whales, as well as the Hvannasund Fulmar hunt and the grindadráp at Bour on 31st August of 29 long finned pilot whales
The covert operation has shown that just a small number of crew are able to document with -- no restrictions -- the horrifying scenes at Faroese grindadráp just by blending in with other visiting tourists. Sea Shepherd fully intends to continue such covert action and encourage our volunteers to use their vacation time to travel to the Faroe Islands to help Sea Shepherd expose the barbaric grindadráp and especially the hunting of other species such as the Atlantic white-sided dolphins, which is rarely if ever mentioned by the Faroese government or reported in the Faroese press.
2017 has proved to be one of the worst years for the grindadrap since the mid 1990's with 1203 pilot whales and 488 dolphins killed during 24 individual hunts in the Danish Faroe Islands so far.
Please support Sea Shepherd's Operation Bloody Fjords by donating at: www.seashepherdglobal.org
Photos: Sea Shepherd Global