FAROE ISLANDS

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 at sea it is free for all Danish civilians. 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. At sea newly fledged Fulmars are picked up from boats using a landing net. Shooting occur at sea in winter and the species hunted are Shags, Common Guillemots, Razorbills and Puffins.

 

In the Faroes, it is allowed to harvest from local seabird populations – estimated around 1.5 million pairs. The annual harvest is highly variable 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 of most colonies. The Fulmars are local breeders while about 10% of the harvested Puffins originate from Iceland. Common Guillemots and Razorbills shot in winter are mainly birds breeding in Iceland and Scotland, that overwintering Faroese waters.

 

The hunting regulation is well known and accepted among the hunters. There is however, no hunting statistics in the Faroes, while reliable hunting figures combined with more accurate seabird population estimates, would give a better basis to regulate the hunting a sustainable way.

See photo reportage on seabird harvest from the Faroe Islands:

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