The Faroe Islands limit their hunting quota to 500 dolphins per year

The Faroe Islands announced on Sunday that it would temporarily limit the number of dolphins that its inhabitants hunt to 500 per year, a very controversial practice.

An annual catch limit of 500 white-sided dolphins has now been proposed by the Department of Fisheries on a provisional basis for 2022 and 2023“, declared the government of this Danish autonomous territory.

This quota was set after the “unusually large catchof 1,423 white-sided dolphins last September, he said in a statement.

Aspects of this catch were unsatisfactory, in particular the unusually high number of dolphins killed“, he acknowledged, adding: “this is unlikely to be a sustainable catch level (…) in the long term“.

A review of the practice was launched in February after a petition calling for a ban on this traditional hunt was submitted to the Faroese government. The text had collected nearly 1.3 million signatures.

In the Faroese tradition, hunters surround the dolphins with a wide semi-circle of fishing boats and lead them into a shallow bay where they are stranded. Fishermen on the shore kill cetaceans with knives.

Every summer, images of this bloody hunt make headlines around the world and arouse the indignation of animal rights activists who consider this practice barbaric.

But the hunt still enjoys wide support in the Faroe Islands, where its supporters point out that the animals have fed the local population for centuries.

On Sunday, the government stressed that the captures were a “important supplement to the livelihoods of the people of the Faroe Islands” and considered that the capture of dolphins was done in a way “sustainable” for the environment.

Given current stocks, the government said an annual quota of around 825 dolphins would be “well below sustainable limitsbut recommended 500 as an interim limit.

After the opinion of the scientific committee of the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission, expected for 2024, it will re-examine the provisional quota.

The government said it would also assess the procedures used to kill the dolphins.

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