Home > Uncategorized > Faroe Islands, but this time beneath the surface :-)

Faroe Islands, but this time beneath the surface :-)

Tvøst og spik. Black meat of the pilot whale and blubber (middle), together with dried fish (left) and potatoes.

Link: Whaling.fo—English website from the Faroese Government

There are two species of pilot whales commonly known as the long-finned and the short-finned pilot whale. Those in the North Atlantic are the long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas), and are known to the Faroese as grindahvalur. They occur widely and in large numbers in temperate, sub-arctic waters in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

Long-finned pilot whales migrate in schools, or pods, numbering anything from just a few animals to up to a thousand or more. The average length and weight of pilot whales is 420 cm and 879 kg for males and 387 cm and 721 kg for females. Males reach sexual maturity at around the age of 15 and can live to at least 46 years, while females are reproductively mature by around 9 years and can live to at least 59 years.

Whaling in the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic has been practiced since about the time of the first Norse settlements on the islands.
Archaeological evidence from the early Norse settlement of the Faroe Islands c. 1200 years ago, in the form of pilot whale bones found in household remains in Gøta, indicates that the pilot whale has long had a central place in the everyday life of Faroe Islanders.
An annual catch of 956 pilot whales (1990–1999) is roughly equivalent to 500 tonnes of meat and blubber, some 30% of all meat produced locally in the Faroe Islands.
Records of the drive exist in part since 1584, and continuously from 1709—the longest period of time for statistics existing for any wild animal harvest in the world. Surveys of the size of the Northeast Atlantic pilot whale population have been conducted by the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission.estimated population size of 778,000 in the eastern North Atlantic, with approximately 100,000 around the Faroes, This means that the average kill from 1990–1999 of 956 animals each year represents about 0.1% of the population, which is considered sustainable by the IUCN and ACS.

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