Bakkafrost CEO seeks to distance company from international outrage over Faroese dolphin slaughter

Matthew Wilcox

Bakkafrost condemns largest ever slaughter of dolphins in the Faroe Islands amidst fear of reputation damage for the country’s companies. 

In the wake of international outcry over the slaughter of 1,428 white-sided dolphins in the Faroe Islands on Sunday, the largest company in the Faroe Islands, the salmon producer Bakkafrost, has issued a statement decrying the “slaughter”, saying the company “condemn this episode and find it totally unacceptable”.

With more than 1,400 dolphins dead, the slaughter represented a record for the islands, at more than six times the number usually killed in an entire year.

The chief executive, Regin Jacobsen, told Faroese radio that the company had received complaints from customers around the world.

The company’s move to distance themselves from traditional Faroese hunting culture follows on from the record investment announced in the UK earlier this week.

Read more: Offshore farming can lift Bakkafrost up to 180,000 tonnes in annual production

Faroese have been killing whales since Viking times but even within the islands many inhabitants now oppose these annual slaughter. While pilot whales are commonly killed by the islanders, dolphins are slightly more unusual, fuelling  discontent.

On Thursday, the Faroes government said it would “start an evaluation of the regulations on the catching of Atlantic white-sided dolphins”, noting that white-sided dolphin hunts “have not been a part of Faroese tradition to the same degree” as pilot whales.

The prime minister, Bárður á Steig Nielsen, said: “We take this matter very seriously. Although these hunts are considered sustainable, we will be looking closely at the dolphin hunts, and what part they should play in Faroese society.”

SalmonBusiness has contacted Bakkafrost to ask whether the company is opposed to the killing of whales too, or just dolphins.

1,428 in one day – is more than six times the number usually killed in an entire year.

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