SSCS History Stopping the Grind
Sea Shepherd has been the leading opposition against the slaughter of pilot whales in the Danish Faroe Islands. Captain Paul Watson has led campaigns to oppose the hunt in 1985, 1986, 2000, and again in 2011. No whales were killed while Sea Shepherd patrolled the Islands.
In 1985, the Faroese authorities found Sea Shepherd's presence in the Harbor of Torshavn to be so provoking that they were willing to cut a deal. In return for Sea Shepherd departing the Faroes, the Fisheries Minister assured that the killing would be halted for the remainder of the grind 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 Faroes, 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, Faroese 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 Faroese authorities to end the ferocious grind.
In July 2010, Sea Shepherd sent an undercover operative to the Faroe 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imagery and news of the mass slaughter spread fast and made international headlines furthering the need to abolish this outdated practice.
In 2011, Sea Shepherd returned for Operation Ferocious Isles, with volunteer crew stationed on both land and sea. No pilot whales were killed while Sea Shepherd patrolled the islands. Animal Planet documented the campaign, and the horrors of the grind were exposed to a large international audience when the footage aired on the “Whale Wars” spin-off series, “Viking Shores.”
Sea Shepherd has been a leading voice for applying economic pressure on the Faroe Islands to end the grind by calling on compassionate people and companies to boycott Faroese seafood products until the mission is accomplished.
In June 2014, Sea Shepherd will return to the Faroe Islands for Operation GrindStop 2014, with hundreds of volunteers ready to defend the pilot whales and other cetaceans targeted in the brutal grinds. The campaign will be Sea Shepherd’s largest Faroese campaign to date, and the goal remains the same: zero cetaceans killed.