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Boycotts against the Faroe Islands?

The stunning Faroe Islands: Photo: Anna Rapoport

Last week, 6 July, saw the first grindadráp (grind) of the year in the Faroe Islands with 43 pilot whales killed. For those who want to see an end to the practice however, the suggestions of boycotts which are currently circulating again, make no sense at all and only serve to harden the fronts. Angry comments made on social media, or boycotts, don’t effect change, especially on islands and in the Scandinavian countries, where solidarity is written large. In fact, it’s entirely the other way around.

Tourism brings money into a country and this automatically creates change. Local people will adapt to the wishes and needs of the tourists and if every second tourist asked for a fast-food outlet for instance, sooner or later, you’d see fast-food outlets opening. It’s simply about demand and supply.

Tourists have a much bigger influence inside a country than outside. In Iceland for instance, whale watching has become a fast growing business and this has created strong opposition against whaling. Due to the large demand of tourists for whale watching, the locals have realised that whales are worth much more alive than dead. And now imagine for a second what would happen if the whale watch companies had no customers because of a boycott?

"Instead of killing, we are watching, learning and enjoying." Photo: Hard To Port

“Instead of killing, we are watching, learning and enjoying.” Photo: Hard To Port

Hard To Port recently posted: “The Hard To Port team had a very informative and nice interview with the managing director of North Sailing in Húsavík yesterday. As the latest addition to their fleet, the company currently turns a former whaling boat into a whale watching vessel. North Sailing also worked on a partnership with the supermarket chain Samkaup to stop the sale of whale meat in their grocery stores.”

Visitors to the Faroes will know that this small country is not like Florida or Mallorca. They don’t have, and don’t want, millions of tourists. They don’t have the capacity for “mass tourism”. We are talking about a limited amount of tourists and there will always those who love such places and are unaware of, or ignore, calls for boycotts.

If you want to help end the whaling, put aside the idea of “enemy” and go to these beautiful islands and share your concerns about whaling with the locals. Faroese people are very friendly and open, they don’t hide anything and they’re fine to talk about the topic. The more tourists that share their concerns about the grind, the more Faroese will think about the continuation of it. We have to work with local people, not against them. Some are opposed to the grind anyway, but many more are neutral.

As Jóan Pauli Joensen, author of Pilot whaling in the Faroe Islands said:

On the Faroe Islands people say that ‘the guest’s eye is all-seeing’. The outsider can see what those in the local culture do not due to cultural blindness.

Stunning beauty. The Faroes are perfect for ecotourism, with breathtaking landscapes and – yes – a potential to see whales and dolphins at sea, among birds and other marine wildlife. Photo: Jochen Zaeschmar

Stunning beauty. The Faroes are perfect for ecotourism, with breathtaking landscapes and – yes – a potential to see whales and dolphins at sea, among birds and other marine wildlife. Photo: Sasha Abdolmajid

 Also read: Many Faroese people have stopped eating pilot whale

Watch out for the upcoming documentary: The Islands and the Whales

14 Comments

    • George Howell says:

      Is that the most intelligent comment you can think to make? Maybe you didn’t read the article.

  1. Donald U.Newe says:

    Boycotting the Faroe Islands and the general witch-hunt, filled with blind hatred against the Faroese that the pitchfork and torch animal lover mob runs on the social-media . And that is encouraged and fueled with the lies and propaganda of a certain conservation organization (and its founder/leader)…that is now banned from entering the Faroe Islands.
    Is indeed counterproductive !
    Jane Goodall is right by saying :
    “Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right.”

  2. Paige Nelson says:

    The boycott is for salmon and fish products. Not an entire country.

    • Ceta Journal says:

      But there are other boycotts related to stopping cruise ships from visiting and also for boycotting the islands altogether. Both are tourism issues. And boycotting their fish has been done before several times starting about 20 years ago, it didn’t work. But that’s a lot of boycotting for a nation of 50,000 people.

  3. Chantel says:

    Please stop whaling

  4. Ann Elphick says:

    I’m wondering if anyone pro these boycotts has thought what the Faroese may do if they are hurt in the pocket? Of course they would rely on ‘free food’ and more whales would be caught.

    • Sergei says:

      The ‘free food’ is no longer what it used to be 200 or even 100 years ago. Their own medical officers have found whale meat to be contaminated with toxins and unfit for human consumption, especially for pregnant or expecting women. It will destroy your immune system in the long run, which is exactly what’s happening to those whales already. The whole global ecosystem has changed for the worse and continues to worsen every year, and only an idiot can refuse to recognise that. Besides, the Faroese have long stopped being the subsistence hunters their ancestors were and couldn’t live in isolation from the rest of the world, even if they wanted to. Their whaling is done on modern boats with GPS, sonar and radio (all imported, sure enough), and their kids go to study and work overseas. It’s easy to stop being traditional rural subsistence dweller and become an urban inhabitant relying on global trade, but not the other way around (it’s a social law). Finally, the core of the Faroese whale hunters is composed of a group of men, who have admitted doing it not for food, but for the sheer excitement of it. “Standing in bloody water to the waist makes you feel like a man”, they said. It means they are just a kind of trophy hunters of the most vicious type and completely set in their ways. There is nothing to talk about with that sort people, nothing to discuss, they will never listen to anyone.

      • Eyðbjørn Jespersen says:

        When you need to make up stuff, and blatantly lie, you don’t have a true cause anymore. It’s just petty namecalling.
        The attendance of 350+ people, local as well as people (yes, both men and women), at the last kill really doesn’t back your claim very well up.

        The sole reason we Faroese can’t be bothered talking or listening to you lot, is those very same lies you keep spreading. You are not the first foreigners trying to change our ways – nor will you be the last. But you will join the long list of failed foreigners trying to change our ways.

        Lastly, thank you for the attention – or socalled pressure – you are showing our country. Tourism has soared through the roof, and 99% of those tourists are respectful to our ways, traditions and not least culture.
        The free advertisement is priceless.

  5. Stéphanie Andrews says:

    Please no more grind !!!

  6. norma says:

    My friend cancelled their trip!! Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Laura Smith says:

    We were planning our holiday to the Faroe Islands but after seeing the inhumane slaughter of our sentient beings we canceled our plan.

    • George Howell says:

      ‘Our’ sentient beings – wow. So which country do you live in that doesn’t inhumanely slaughter sentient beings and thinks they own them?

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