125 pilot whales were killed in the bay of Viðvík, one of the 23 allowable grind bays according to govt regulations.
However, the slaughter came hot on the heels of an announcement by the Minister of Fisheries on the Faroe Islands, Jacob Vestergaard, that as from 01 May 2015, all those taking part in the Faroe Island's whale hunts (or grindadráps) must participate in a course in the laws and correct procedures relating to the grinds, and possess the relevant pass certificate.
Training will be given in the use of the only grind tools permitted as of 2015 (nostril hooks and spinal lances), the ability to recognise whales' death signals, and understanding all legislation before they can take part.
Use of the grindknife and also the grinding hook (sóknarongul) will only be allowed by special permit from the foreman of the grind or the local police chief. The Pilot Whalers' Assn has agreed with most of the changes.
Runi Nielsen, Earthrace Conservation rep on the Faroes: "A large majority of the participants who at the moment just show up and take part, will not bother to take these mandatory courses and by doing so will exclude themselves. The fewer people taking part, the less a part of the Faroese way of life the grinds will be."
Nielsen believes the new legislation will prevent repetition of one of the worst grinds in Faroese history that took place in 2010...
"Inexperience, a lack of authority and direction, an unsuitable location and the sheer number of pilot whales led to the deaths of 228 whales in completely unacceptable circumstances that shocked even Faroese supporters of the grinds."
[The infamous Klaksvík grindadráp on 19 July 2010 (as told by a local eye-witness) was the largest drive of the previous six years. 228 pilot whales were beached, even though officially there was only space to beach about 100. This lead to chaos and a massacre. Very few men attending had proper knowledge on how to kill pilot whales quickly. They were overwhelmed by the numbers on the beach and the rocks. Many young men literally slit the animals open with their knives to kill them, but did not succeed quickly at all. The drive left many Klaksvík residents appalled, even though most of them are (or were to that point) in favour of the grindadráp.
Sadly, this is not the only shocking incident. Reports prove that locals in various areas of the designated 22 killing beaches killed dolphin species that're protected even by Faroese law, such as Rissos' dolphins and orca. (In 1978, a unique hunt involving orca did occur in the Faroes: it has never been repeated).
In at least one case, almost the whole catch of 62 pilot whales had to be dumped out at sea unused, because the meat had gone bad. The whales had been killed relatively late at Víðvík on 10 Nov.2010, and were abandoned without being gutted when night fell. The next morning most of the meat was spoiled.]
Despite islanders' claims to the contrary, things DO go wrong...so the announcement of these changes in the Faroes is a welcome one. In Newfoundland in the 1960s, similar rules were issued. The first killing that took place there under the new rules was also the last to ever happen.
This will not be the end of grindadráps in the Faroe Islands, but it may be the beginning of the end...