A sea of blood

The sea has turned red with blood after Faroe Islanders slaughtered pilot whales yet again, driving hundreds of them into the shallows and butchering them with knives in a horrific 'grindadrap' hunt.

The fishermen resumed the controversial hunt in May and since then, Denmark's autonomous territory in the north Atlantic has killed more than 500 Long-finned pilot whales, officials there said 

In the 1,000-year Faroese tradition known as 'grindadrap', or 'grind' for short, hunters surround pilot whales and dolphins with a wide semi-circle of fishing boats and drive them into a shallow bay where they are beached.

The fishermen then brutally slaughter them with knives on shore.

Danny Groves, from Whale and Dolphin Conservation, described the grind as a 'distressing and cruel hunt that can last for hours, and from which very few whales ever escape'.

He said: 'Over 20,000 whales and dolphins have been slaughtered over the last 20 years. Pilot whales live in tight-knit social groups and many are killed in front of their family members.

'Once driven to the beach, blunt-ended metal hooks inserted into their blowholes are used to drag the whales up the beach or in the shallows.

'In recent years, concerns have also been raised about the health implications for eating whale meat which can contain high levels of contaminants. It is a pointless slaughter.'

But the hunt still enjoys broad support in the Faroes, where supporters point out that the animals have fed the local population for centuries and accuse media and foreign NGOs of disrespecting local culture and traditions.

They typically kill around 800 pilot whales a year.

In 2022, the government limited the number of Atlantic white-sided dolphins that could be killed per year to 500, after an unusually large slaughter of more than 1,400 sparked an outcry, even among locals.

Shocking images have yet again surfaced this year of the sea transformed into deep red waters from the blood of the slaughtered pilot whales.

Scores of fishermen could be seen taking to the water, while others were seen dragging the lifeless bodies onto land.

The slaughter is a cultural mainstay of the autonomous Danish territory which is done to supply the archipelago with meat for the coming year.