First Annual World Dolphin Day: September 12th

Friday, 09 Sep, 2022

Sea Shepherd announces the creation of World Dolphin Day on September 12th -- the one-year anniversary of the largest single slaughter of cetaceans in recorded history -- both in memory of the 1428 dolphins killed in the Faroe Islands on that day, and as a reminder that dolphins around the world need more protection. 

Join the Stop the Grind Coalition to help us spread the word! Take Action, Join the Coalition

Faroe Islands, September 12th, 2021: 1428 dolphins massacred. Photo by Sea Shepherd.

What happened on September 12th, 2021?

Exactly one year ago, the world was shocked to see Sea Shepherd’s footage capturing the brutal killing of 1428 Atlantic white-sided dolphins in the Faroe Islands, the largest single slaughter of cetaceans in recorded history. While it’s no secret that the Faroese people continue to kill pilot whales and other dolphins in drive hunts known as grindadráps (or grind), the international community finally saw with their own eyes how cruel and senseless this outdated practice has become as they watched an entire pod of sentient marine mammals fighting for their lives while being butchered in the shallow waters of the fjord, including the juveniles and pregnant females. 

Why is this new awareness day needed? Isn’t there already a World Dolphin Day?

National Dolphin Day is celebrated in the United States, but until now there hasn’t been an international day specifically dedicated to raising awareness about the need to protect dolphins.

World Dolphin Day is being established on September 12th -- the one-year anniversary of the slaughter -- in memory of the 1428 dolphins killed that day. It’s also an opportunity to raise the alarm! The Faroese grind is just one example of how dolphins and other small cetaceans are being killed around the world every year, often without any public awareness, whether hunted for “tradition”, held in captivity for entertainment, or suffocating in fishing nets as bycatch.

“I wholeheartedly support the creation of a day to honor dolphins as fellow citizens whose existence not only brings us joy but also brings health to vital ocean systems that underpin human existence. Ironically, these miraculously intelligent, highly social, playful creatures regard humans with trust, curiosity, compassion, dignity and respect, even as they continue to be barbarically killed by the millions for food, as bycatch in commercial fishing operations, by entanglement in discarded nets, lines, traps, and hooks, as victims of pollution and perversely, even for sport, for entertainment and as imagined competitors for fish. For their sake -- and ours -- let's do unto dolphins as dolphins do unto us!”

Sylvia Earle, Founder of Mission Blue, National Geographic Explorer at Large
Dolphin killed as bycatch in fishing net. Photo by Sea Shepherd.

What is being done to defend dolphins?

Sea Shepherd has been on the frontlines of the Faroe Islands fighting against the grind for over 40 years. The Faroese government assumed that, as usual, international outrage over the grind would eventually die down so they could continue as usual, killing an additional 100 bottlenose dolphins, 336 pilot whales, and 6 bottlenose whales in the past year. 

However, in the wake of the September 12th massacre, a new coalition of organizations and individuals from around the world has formed; all share a common mission to Stop the Grind. This is a collaborative effort to end the grind by putting pressure on multiple fronts: political, economical, and social. To date, the coalition has:

- Collected enough signatures to launch a debate in the UK Parliament calling for a suspension of the UK’s trade agreement with the Faroe Islands. (read more)

- Commissioned a consumer survey of UK, Denmark and Germany residents showing 69% of respondents would support economic sanctions or consumer boycotts against nations that hunt dolphins and whales. (read more)

- Coalition members will be in Portoroz, Slovenia this October during the International Whaling Commission (IWC) convention calling for delegates to include small cetaceans in the international whale hunting moratorium. 

- Meanwhile, Sea Shepherd UK’s volunteers have been on the ground in the Faroe Islands since May to investigate and document what really happens before, during and after the grinds, and to build alliances with locals opposed to the slaughters. (campaign updates)

- This year, our crew has documented the dumping of dolphin and pilot whale remains into the sea, refuting the myth that “we eat everything” and nothing from the grind goes to waste. (watch video)

- They also discovered how the certification process to participate in the killing during the grind is a complete sham after one of our volunteers, who didn’t even speak Faroese, received his permit after simply watching a 1-hour presentation he couldn’t understand. (read more)

“If we can’t conjure the will and desire not to harm one of the most beloved creatures on the planet, what hope do we have for protecting the rest of the natural world?”

Ali Tabrizi,  Seaspiracy

What can YOU do? Join us to help spread the word about World Dolphin Day! 

Most people still don’t realize how many dolphins and pilot whales are killed every year in the Faroe Islands and elsewhere. Through World Dolphin Day, we can raise awareness and encourage more people to speak out against the slaughters. Help us make it clear to the Faroese – as well as governments and international organizations like the IWC – that the world is watching, and that we demand legal protections for small cetaceans around the world. 

Please join Stop the Grind and make your voice heard: Join the Coalition


Photo by Kim Free for Sea Shepherd.
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