Group uses diplomacy to save whales

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A marine conservation group hopes to gain support to stop the killing of pilot whales in the Faroe Islands by adopting a “diplomatic and peaceful approach”.

Earthrace Conservation said it will have a permanent presence on the group of islands which are situated halfway between the Shetland Islands and Iceland.

The environmentalists aim to talk to those involved in the annual Faroese “grindadraps”, which consists of boats herding pods of migrating pilot whales into shallow coves as they travel past the islands.

Members of the group have already visited the Faroe Islands to meet locals and talk about their attitudes towards the traditional grinds.

Earthrace Conservation Faroe Islands was set up as a result and will be headed by islander Turid Christophersen. It is hoped Scottish-based volunteers will travel to the islands to help in the campaign.

Ms Christophersen, 31, said: “I saw a need for people to be able to speak out about local marine life from whales and puffins, which are in serious decline, to the pollution of sea birds and over-fishing.

“Having met the team from Earthrace Conservation and appreciated their approach while on the islands, I decided I could achieve that through joining them.”

Beverley Bailey, Earthrace spokeswoman, said they believed they were “doing it the right way” by avoiding the “aggressive” approach of other anti-whaling groups.

She said: “We want to get people to talk about it, we are here to listen. It’s about awareness and education and giving a voice to those who have never been asked. Hopefully then they will open up to us and we can discuss their perceptions of the grinds.”

The group will also introduce educational campaigns on wider global marine issues and care of the environment as well as organising beach clean-ups.

Source: Belfast Telegraph