“They are smaller, and the amount of meat for the ride is not that big, so it’s nothing to use up energy and time,” he said, adding of the great mortality: “You can say that in general no one has been satisfied with this.”
About 265 white-sided dolphins are hunted each year, he said, and about 130,000 dolphins remain in the Northeast Atlantic region. An average of 600 whales are caught each year out of a population of around 100,000 around the islands, according to the Faroese government.
Sea Shepherd criticized the hunt as having been started without proper authorization and said participants did not have a license to kill dolphins quickly, as they usually would. The group also said footage of the dolphins suggested the animals had been run over by motorboats.
Jens Jensen, a district sheriff in the area, said his authorization to hunt was delayed because he had been hiking in the mountains. He said given the large number of dolphins involved, he approved of the use of knives – which don’t require a license – to kill them faster.
Sunday’s hunters had been looking for whales, Mr Jensen said, and when they spotted the group, they initially thought it was 200 to 300 animals. They decided to drive them to a bay in Skalabotnur, he said, noting that it was difficult to estimate the size of the pods during a hunt.
“When they estimated there were over 1,000, they stopped killing the dolphins,” he said.
But critics have said that while the local meat hunt remains open to debate among anthropologists, Sunday’s murder was a scandal.
“This atrocity demands that our voices be raised in protest”, Barbara J. King, anthropologist and professor emeritus of anthropology at the College of William and Mary, said on twitter. “It is not a local custom and it is not a simple ‘mistake’ of scale. The devastation for the families of #dolphins is and will be immense. “