Harvesting seabirds has a long tradition in the Faroes where seabirds are the only birds being hunted.
On land it is mainly the landowners that may hunt, while on the sea it is free for everyone having Danish civil rights. On land the traditional way of fowling is by using the fleygastong, a net between two thin arms on a long pole, and the method is used for puffins and fulmars. On the sea newly fledged fulmars are picked up from boats using a deep landing net. Shooting occur at sea in winter and the species hunted are shags, guillemots, razorbills and puffins.
At the Faroes it is allowed to harvest from local seabird populations – estimated at around 1.5 million pairs. The annual harvest is highly fluctuating and is estimated to be between 50.000 and 250.000 birds, mainly fulmar fledglings and puffins. The puffin harvest has however markedly declined in recent years as the production of young has failed, resulting in protection in most colonies. The fulmars are local breeders from the Faroes while about 10% of the harvested puffins originate from Iceland. Guillemots and Razorbills shot in winter are mainly birds breeding in Iceland and Scotland, but wintering in Faroe waters.
The hunting regulation is well known and accepted among the hunters. There is however, no hunting statistic in the Faroes, so a reliable hunting statistic combined with better seabird population estimates would give a better foundation to regulate the hunting in a sustainable way.