Activists urge EU to rebuke Denmark for Faroe whale hunt

May 10, 2017
The Faroe Islands pilot whale hunt is held every year from June to November

Environmental campaigners on Wednesday urged the EU to take action against Denmark, accusing officials there of facilitating the traditional annual hunt of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands.

"It is forbidden to kill and dolphins in Europe," said Geert Vons, director of the activist group Sea Shepherd Netherlands.

"By supporting the Faroe Islands in the killing of and other cetaceans, Denmark facilitates the slaughter and fails to fulfil its EU obligations."

It has called on Brussels to launch so-called "infringement proceedings" against member state Denmark, claiming to have "evidence proving that Danish officials from the police, navy, and customs have been facilitating and even actively participating" in the hunt.

The Faroe Islands, an autonomous territory of nearly 50,000 inhabitants in the North Atlantic, chose to remain outside the European Union when Denmark joined in 1973.

They are heavily dependent on fishing —mainly herring and mackerel—which together with fish farming accounts for 98 percent of its goods exports.

The traditional hunt is held every year from June to November, when a flotilla of islanders drives the whales into a bay or the mouth of a fjord where they are killed by hand.

The practice is defended by many locals as a cultural right, and the whale meat and blubber are consumed as delicacies.

Sea Shepherd has traditionally tried to stop and document the hunt, but last year a law was passed to allow the government to ban ships from entering Faroese water.

Under its "infringement proceedings," Brussels writes to national governments to demand legal explanations on an issue and can then refer the government to the European Court of Justice.

The top EU court can impose stiff financial penalties if member states fail to comply.

Explore further: Up to 50 pilot whales killed in Faroes: activists

Related Stories

Up to 50 pilot whales killed in Faroes: activists

July 6, 2016

A militant conservation group claimed Wednesday that up to 50 pilot whales have been killed in the first traditional whale hunt of the year in the Faroe Islands, but authorities there defended the practice and slammed the ...

EU and Faroe Islands end 'herring war'

June 11, 2014

The European Union said Wednesday it had reached agreement with the Faroe Islands to settle a dispute over herring fishing and would drop punitive measures against the tiny island chain.

Sea Shepherd battles to stop Faroes' dolphin 'grind'

June 13, 2014

Hundreds of Sea Shepherd activists are heading for the Faroe Islands for an unprecedented campaign against a traditional dolphin hunt that they call "an obsolete massacre," the conservation group said Friday.

Recommended for you

Researchers isolate parvovirus from ancient human remains

July 13, 2018

Airborne and bloodborne human parvovirus B19 causes a number of illnesses, including the childhood rash known as fifth disease, chronic anemia in AIDS patients, arthritis in elderly people, aplastic crisis in people with ...

Finding the proteins that unpack DNA

July 12, 2018

A new method allows researchers to systematically identify specialized proteins that unpack DNA inside the nucleus of a cell, making the usually dense DNA more accessible for gene expression and other functions. The method, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.