Earthrace Conservation has announced the launch of a new chapter based on the Faroe Islands. It’s first time any International marine conservation group has ever had a presence there on a permanent basis.
The formation of the new chapter is thanks both to the passion of a few special Faroe Islanders for the oceans and marine life around them, and the diplomatic approach of the Earthrace team when they visited the Islands in February and earlier this month. The team met and talked with many Faroese people whilst investigating attitudes towards the annual grindadraps or dolphin drives, and the potential health risks to those that eat the grind meat and blubber.
Earthrace Conservation Faroe Islands will be led by 31 year old Turid Christophersen, who was already working with Djóraverndarfelagið, the organization which strives for better conditions for animals in the Faroes. It focuses on raising the level of consciousness of people – kids and adults – around animals and their well-being, health and comfort, so extending her reach to work on marine conservation and the environment was a natural fit.
Turid 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, and 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, spokesperson for Earthrace Conservation said, “The Faroe Islands may have the smallest population of any of the places where we have official chapters, but as an Island nation, everyone there should have an interest in keeping the oceans and marine life around them safe and healthy”.
As well as hoping to change people’s perceptions of, and support for, the grinds, Turid and other Earthrace supporters based on the Faroe Islands will be starting educational and practical campaigns around global marine issues including other vulnerable and endangered marine animals; care of the environment; and fishing practices such as shark hunting, a trade that sees around 70 million sharks killed around the world purely to supply the ingredient for shark fin soup.
Beverley concluded, “With Turid at the helm, we are confident that we will get a growing number of supporters who like what we do and how we do it, and that we will achieve what we set out to do on the Faroe Islands – create a growing level of awareness and positive actions surrounding all the issues that concern Earthrace about the state of our oceans today.
The Faroe Islands chapter is the tenth to be launched since Earthrace Conservation was founded by New Zealand environmentalist, Pete Bethune in January this year. There are other chapters in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Sweden and the UK.