Faroe Islands to limit controversial annual dolphin hunt after widespread anger

Two Pacific White-sided dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens). (Photo by: HUM Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
White-sided dolphins are killed in the Faroe Islands as part of a tradition dating back hundreds of years. (File photo: Getty Images)

The Faroe Islands has said it will limit its controversial annual dolphin hunt after anger from animal rights activists.

The island country in the North Atlantic said it will provisionally limit its annual "grind", known as the "Grindadráp" in Faroese, to 500 animals.

There was widespread outcry from animal rights group after last year's cull led to the killing of more than 1,400 dolphins.

A review into the process was ordered last February after the practice was denounced as cruel and unnecessary.

The grind has been practiced on the remote islands for hundreds of years but last year's event even led to criticism from groups involved, according to the BBC.

Read more: Anger as hundreds of dolphins hunted and killed in annual Faroe Islands slaughter

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 16: Demonstrators holding placards and banners gather at the Trafalgar Square to protest slaughtering of hundreds of dolphins in Faroe Islands, and then to march towards 10 Downing Street in London, United Kingdom on October 16, 2021. Demonstrators demanded sanctions to be imposed on the Faroe Islands. (Photo by Hasan Esen/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
More than 1,400 dolphins were slaughtered in the Faroe Islands in one day last year. (Getty Images)

It was the largest number of dolphins killed in one day in the Faroe Islands.

A petition calling for a ban on the hunt that gathered almost 1.3 million signatures was submitted to the country's government.

It has announced that the annual cull of white-sided dolphins will be limited to 500 for the next two years.

The dolphin hunt is the only aspect of the grind being reviewed - it doesn't affect the hunting of small whales.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2021/10/16: Protesters hold placards and a banner during the demonstration.
Animal rights activists gathered at Trafalgar Square and marched through central London to oppose the slaughter of dolphins and whales on Faroe Islands and Japan. (Photo by Thomas Krych/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Protesters demonstrate in London last October against the Faroe Islands' cull of dolphins and whales. (Getty Images)

The government said the new quota was set after the "unusually large catch" of 1,423 white-sided dolphins last September.

It said: "Aspects of that catch were not satisfactory, in particular the unusually large number of dolphins killed."

But the government insisted the grind remains an "important supplement to the livelihoods of Faroe Islanders".