Commentary

Operation Bloody Fjords Eyewitness Account: Team 3

Friday, Nov 10, 2017

As part of our ongoing Operation Bloody Fjords campaign to end the slaughter of dolphins and pilot whales in the Danish Faroe Islands, Sea Shepherd coordinated ten weeks of covert land-based patrols from July to early September. Centrally coordinated by Sea Shepherd UK, the crews were based in six different Faroese towns covering 19 designated whaling bays. During the ten weeks our volunteer crew, who used their personal vacation time to blend in with other tourists, managed to document nine separate grindadráp. We are now sharing the personal accounts of six of these teams and the images they recorded, one each day for six days.

Team 3, based in Tórshavn, witnessed the Sydrugota dolphin hunt 25th July 2017 (16 white-sided dolphins killed)

“As we drove into Sydrugota we knew we were in the right place as the water was blood red. We continued towards the harbour and parked up, walked to the slipway where 16 Atlantic white-sided dolphins already had been slaughtered. They were lined up neatly in two rows, guts already spilled onto the concrete and spines severed. One thing I didn’t expect was the stench of blood.  A crowd had gathered including small children who were poking the dolphins in the eyes while their parents watched. The Grind Foreman began measuring and numbering the carcasses while telling me these dolphins were split from a larger pod of 100+.

The hunters then began to load some of the dolphins onto flatbed lorries, lifted by the fluke while intestines were spilling out. The remaining dolphins started to be butchered; one hunter remarked how lucky we were to witness this as a foreigner.

We then followed a lorry about half a mile to a workshop which doubled as a butcher house. We tried to get photographs inside with a long lens but could not find a suitable angle. We decided to enter the building and ask to take pictures under the guise of Marine Biology students. The hunters were happy to oblige. We were told the meat would be sent to the local old people’s home. We watched while the hunters hacked off the dolphins’ heads and began to butcher them. I remarked to the hunter that the dolphins we’re Atlantic white-sided and they didn’t know. They said ‘I don’t know, it’s a dolphin’. The meat was thrown into tubs full of water. The butchering process took about 2 hours while the hunters laughed and joked.”

One of the 16 Atlantic white-sided dolphins killed on July 25th, 2017. Photo: Sea Shepherd.

2017 has proved to be one of the worst years for the grindadrap since the mid 1990's with 1203 pilot whales and 488 dolphins killed during 24 individual hunts in the Danish Faroe Islands so far. 

Check back tomorrow for the third report and images from Team 5.

Read the introduction article"Operation Bloody Fjords update: Covert patrols documenting the slaughter go completely undetected by the Faroese government"

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