Last Friday (7/24) was an exciting day for me, I got to publish my first article!
To clear up any confusion, I have been writing a number of articles. So far, all of the stories I have been working on are set to be published in upcoming issues of Sport Diver and Scuba Diving later this year.
I initially thought my first published piece would be the previously mentioned story about baiting sharks with heavy-metal music, which will be in the September/October issue of Scuba Diving. But breaking news changed those plans.
On the Faroe Islands locals had been engaged in a whale hunt. This traditional hunt, called a grindadráp, was protested by Sea Shepherd. Their volunteers also filmed the slaughter. Some of their members were even arrested in the process. The footage was going viral, and a Facebook fan called out Scuba Diving for not covering the story.
Our editors decided the story was relevant to both brands (both magazines), so while Deputy Editor Mary Frances put together a story for Scuba Diving, I was assigned to write one for Sport Diver.
Because Sport Diver is the official PADI publication, we thought it was best to avoid showing the graphic video and make the article focus more on the ecological impacts and controversy of the grindadráp.
This presented an interesting opportunity for me to investigate the Faroe Island’s and their frowned-upon practice. As I researched, I found that the issue wasn’t as black and white as most people want to believe.
Unlike most whaling acts, this one appears to be sustainable. The prime target for the hunts are Pilot whales that pass by the islands during their migration. Pilot whales are not an endangered species, and the grindadráp hasn’t had a negative impact on the population as a whole. The Faroese do not seek the cetaceans out, but only begin a hunt when they spot the whales close to shore. The number of whales killed is meticulously recorded, and the Faroese have detailed records going back as far as 1584.
The gut reaction most people have after watching the video, myself included, is outrage. They’re killing whales after all, and the footage is incredibly graphic. But what most people tend to ignore while pointing fingers at the Faroese, is that the meat they eat also has to be killed. In the States, livestock meet similar ends. I’d argue that many of them are treated a lot less humanely.
I do believe it’s important we discuss it, and we make sure the Faroese are held accountable for keeping the grindadráp under control. But they’ve been doing a pretty good job of it on their own.
I got a very positive review on my article from a commenter. I am quite pleased I was able to stay objective while reporting the story.
You can read my story here.