Coastal geomorphology and culture in the spatiality of whaling in the Faroe Islands

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Abstract

This paper explores the suggested relationship between the physical structure of beaches in the Faroe Islands and the spatial history and regulation of the grindadráp – the traditional method of whaling practised by the Faroese in which entire pods of whales are driven ashore by collective effort. Using coastal survey methods, this research shows a lack of strong correlation between beach morphology and the practice and regulation of whaling, except in the case of dramatic near-shore bathymetric features. The gap between these data points can best be filled through cultural-historical analysis, which informs our understanding of the dynamics behind the spatiality of Faroese whaling and whale conservation efforts.

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