History Stopping The Grind
Sea Shepherd has been the leading opposition against the slaughter of pilot whales in the Danish Faeroe Islands. Captain Paul Watson has led campaigns to oppose the hunt in 1985 and 1986 and again in 2000. No whales were killed while Sea Shepherd patrolled the Islands.
In 1985, the Faeroes authorities found Sea Shepherd's presence in the Harbour of Torshavn to be so provoking that they were willing to cut a deal. In return for Sea Shepherd departing the Faeroes, the Fisheries Minister assured that the killing would be halted for the remainder of the season - it would be a victory without the need for further confrontation. As a result, approximately 500 pilot whales were spared from a gruesome death.
One year later, Sea Shepherd returned to the Faeroes, this time with a film team from the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). The BBC produced the award-winning documentary Black Harvest using video documentation taken during the campaign aboard the Sea Shepherd flagship. During the 1986 campaign, Faeroese gunboats pursued the Sea Shepherd II and engaged in a tear-gas attack in an unsuccessful attempt to seize the ship and arrest the crew. The resulting media coverage, coupled with the fact that a number of pilot whale pods were diverted from the killing bays, brought more pressure to bear on the Faeroese authorities to end the ferocious grind.
At the turn of the century, Sea Shepherd sent a ship to the Faeroe Islands for the third time and was successful in convincing 20,000 stores in two grocery chains in Germany to boycott Faeroese fish products.
In July 2010, Sea Shepherd sent an undercover operative to the Faeroe Islands to document and expose the grind. This sting operation yielded shocking images of slaughtered female pilot whales laid out along the shore with their unborn calves cut out from their bodies. Such grotesque imagery and news of the mass slaughter spread fast and made international headlines furthering the need to abolish this outdated practice.
Sea Shepherd has been a leading voice for applying economic pressure on the Faeroe Islands to end the grind by calling on compassionate people and companies to boycott Faeroese seafood products until the mission is accomplished.