September 29, 2023

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78 pilot whales killed in front of cruise ship docked in Faroe Islands: NPR

78 pilot whales killed in front of cruise ship docked in Faroe Islands: NPR

A group of fishermen lead pilot whales towards shore during a hunt in the Faroe Islands in May 2019.

Andrija Ilic/AFP via Getty Images

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Andrija Ilic/AFP via Getty Images

A group of fishermen lead pilot whales towards shore during a hunt in the Faroe Islands in May 2019.

Andrija Ilic/AFP via Getty Images

A cruise line is apologizing to passengers who witnessed the killing of dozens of pilot whales near their ship moored this week in the Faroe Islands.

Passengers aboard the Ambition cruise ship, owned by UK-based Ambassador Cruise Line, arrived Sunday at the port of Tórshavn in Danish territory when they caught the scene, part of a long-running and highly scrutinized local tradition.

Those passengers included conservationists with ORCA, a marine advocacy group that seeks to protect whales and dolphins in European waters. Since 2021, the Ambassador has paid ORCA employees to join their cruises in order to educate tourists about marine wildlife and collect data on the animals.

In an account shared by ORCA and confirmed it Ambassador, conservationists said more than 40 small boats and jet skis herded the whales ashore as 150 people worked to haul the animals ashore with hooks and butcher them with spears.

ORCA said the chase lasted about 20 minutes in total. Some of the animals, including nine calves, took more than 30 seconds to die.

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Ambassador Cruise Line said he was “incredibly disappointed” that the chase was so close to the ship and that he still “strongly objects to this practice.” company They ask their guests not to support fishermen by buying local whale and dolphin meat.

“We fully appreciate that watching this local event would have been an inconvenience to the majority of the guests on board,” Ambassador he said in a statement to NPR. Accordingly, we would like to sincerely apologize to them for any undue inconvenience.

A representative for the Faroese government did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for comment on Sunday’s hunt.

Long-finned pilot whalesDolphins, technically a species of dolphin, are medium-sized marine mammals that live in the North Atlantic Ocean, known for their bulbous head and sickle-shaped fins. they protected Under the Marine Mammal Protection Actbut is not currently listed as an endangered species.

The mammals live in social pods of up to 20 individuals, organized into a larger school of hundreds of animals—a social structure that makes them easy targets for whalers, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In the Faroe Islands, hunting for pilot whales is known as “grindadrap” or “grind”. The Faroese view this tradition as central to their cultural identity and a sustainable way of gathering food, accordingly to a local government website.

The government says the killing was not highly commercialised. Every catch is “distributed free of charge in the local community” but “in some supermarkets and on the wharf, whale meat and blubber is occasionally available for sale.”

Multiple hunts can occur throughout the year, and each is carried out by people with the required license and overseen by elected officials. Local legislation states that the killing must be carried out “as quickly and efficiently as possible”.

The government says the average catch is about 800 animals, a small impact on the total number of pilot whales, which it says is about 778,000 animals.

but Record killing in one day of more than 1,400 The Whitefaced Dolphins in 2021 have brought this practice under intense scrutiny. The head of the Faroese Whalers’ Association told the BBC that the scale of the killing was purely accidental.

ORCA CEO Sally Hamilton said Sunday’s massacre near the cruise ship made it seem as if whalers were “showing off the chase and mocking the tourists,” many of whom were hoping to catch a glimpse of marine life in the wild.

“It defies belief that the Faroese authorities allowed this activity to be carried out in sight of a cruise ship full of passengers,” she wrote in a statement shared with NPR. “At some point, the Faroese authorities will have to decide whether Faroese marine life is a more attractive tourist proposition when it is alive than when it is killed.”

The cruise ship docked for a stopover in Torshavn, the main harbor for the 18-island territory between Iceland and the Shetland Islands. While the local government has invested more in the tourism sector, The marine and fishing industries remain the primary economic drivers in the region.

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