Aquaculture & Fisheries

Faroese salmon farmers issue condemnation of slaughter of dolphins as debate rages

Jacob Vestergaard, Minister of Fisheries.

The Faroese Aquaculture Association has issued a public statement slamming the recent slaughter of a 1400-strong pod of dolphins in the islands.

The association, whose members cover the entire aquaculture industry in the Faroes, said it “wishes to condemn the slaughter of white-sided dolphins that took place on the Faroe Islands on 12 September.”

“The slaughter was a private, communal activity, and as such completely separate from the business activities of the fish farming industry,” the statement, dated September 16th, further read.

It added a final note: “The Faroese Aquaculture Association wants to make clear that no boats or other assets of Faroese fish farming companies were utilized before, during or after the slaughter.”

The condemnation by the aquaculture industry follows widespread debate in the Faroe Islands over the practice of occasionally slaughtering dolphins as part of the old Faroese tradition of killing pilot whales. Minister of Fisheries, Jacob Vestergaard, stressed the position of the Faroese Government — that the country reserves its right to sustainably utilize any marine resources found in its waters. 

However the group of dolphins recently killed turned out to be unusually large and became an instant controversy at home and, perhaps even more so, abroad with news stories about the event brought by a host of major media outlets in a number of countries.

To a large cross section of the Faroese, the massive outcry is seen as the result of a concerted, unjustified hate campaign spearheaded by foreign activist groups. To another large cross section of them, it’s rather seen as a testimony to the need for legislative change to have the killing of dolphins outlawed or at least subjected to a stricter regulatory regime. On balance, for arguably a substantial proportion of the Faroese population, both sides of the debate have a valid point.

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