Over the weekend, the Faroe Islands announced that it was considering the adoption of a quota for the killing of Atlantic white-sided dolphins. Despite announcing the evaluation of the dolphin hunt more than nine months ago, the proposed quota has clearly been hastily put together in an attempt to distract UK politicians ahead of the government debate that will take place today.
Stop the Grind believes that the proposed policy is insufficient for the following reasons:
1. The quota does not apply to pilot whales. The quota of 500 dolphins does not apply to long-finned pilot whales, of which around 700 are killed on average per year and more than 3,700 of which have killed between 2017-2021 alone. Although categorised as whales under the Marine Mammals Protection Regulation 1992, pilot whales are in fact dolphins. The Faroe Islands’ strategic reference to only dolphins therefore means that these unique mammals are not provided the same level of protection as other small cetaceans and will not prevent the mass killing of large pods (as regularly occurs). In fact, just one day after the quota was announced (and a few hours before the UK debate begins) a Grind was called to kill a pod of pilot whales.
2. The quota will not reduce the number of dolphins killed: The quota of 500 announced by the Faroese government exceeds the average number of Atlantic white-sided dolphins killed by the Faroe Islands. Even if you include the unprecedented 1428, the average number of Atlantic white-sided dolphins killed each year (using data from the last 40 years) is just 193 per year. The quota proposed is therefore far higher than it should be.
3. There is no penalty for exceeding this quota. Government policy is only effective when there are clear repercussions for violation. The announcement released by the Faroe Islands does not define the penalty that will be enforced should a quota be exceeded or who would be responsible for calling it.
The adoption of a quota is meaningless without effective governance and a demonstrated reduction in the number of dolphins and whales killed by the Faroese each year. Stop the Grind’s position remains unmoved and we stand by the need for UK policymakers to support the suspension of the UK free trade agreement until the killing of all whales and dolphins has ended.