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Frontpage News 2012 Whale hunting heritage


Securing whale hunting heritage in the Azores

  • Through the restoration of historic whaling boats, the support from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway helps to reenergise coastal communities on the Azores islands.

    The communities of the Azores islands on the Atlantic coast were introduced to whale hunting by American and English fishermen in the 18th century. Whaling spread to practically all coastal communities in the area, being particularly important on the island of Pico. The last whale was captured nearby Pico in 1987, but the whaling business still remains a crucial part of the Azores islands' common cultural identity and memory.
    With assistance from the EEA Grants, parts of this cultural heritage will be restored and brought back to its rightful prominence. Ten whale sailing boats and one whaler motorboat will be restored in the project. The restorationis already well underway and isl carried out by small naval construction companies in the Azores, who have the necessary expertise in this type of work.According to Henrique Manuel Alcáçova Azevedo at the cultural authorities in the Azores, the work on two boats has already been concluded. The whaling boats Nª Sª Fátima and Senhora das Angústias are now ready to sail the Atlantic again.

    After restoration, the boats will take part in regattas that have grown in popularity in the Azores in recent years, with participation from several hundred locals at each event. The regattas are organised by local naval clubs, who are also partners with the local authorities in the Azores in the restoration project. The EEA Grants support is in other words not simply about restoring historical artefacts for exhibitions, but rather about fostering active involvement with the cultural heritage that has been so characteristic of these coastal communities.

    Tourists will also benefit from the preservation of the whaling boats. The boats, which will be used for transportation of visitors to the islands and enable them to enjoy the surroundings, for example in organised hiking tours at the island of Pico. The restoration thus contributes to the overall attractiveness of the Azores as a holiday destination.

  • Country:


    Project title:

    BALEIAÇOR - Preservation, Recovering, survey and spreading of whalers patrimony

    Case number:


    Priority sector:

    Conservation of European cultural heritage


    € 382,925



    Type & project assistance:

    Individual Project

    Project promoter:

    Direcção Regional da Cultura

    Type of institution:

    Regional authority

    Project duration:

    23 months

    Project cost:

    € 450,500

    Grant rate:


    Grant from:

    EEA Grants

    Grant agreement date:

    28 September 2007

    The purpose of the Project is the documentation and conservation of the cultural heritage related to Atlantic whaling activity, especially in relation to the Triangle Islands, with the overall objective of revitalising the cultural identity of the population in the Azores. Reference is made to the application dated 3 May 2006, and subsequent correspondence with the Focal Point dated 21 November 2006, 2 February 2007 and 29 May 2007.

    The completed Project shall include the following activities and results:

    - recovery of 10 whale sailing boats and 1 whaler motorboat,

    - organisation of social and tourism events that involve the boats; and

    - survey of the movable whaling heritage, its documentation, and its popularisation through seminars and publications.

    The Project Promoter is the Regional Culture Order (Direcção Regional da Cultura), of the Regional Government of the Azores.

    The Focal Point shall ensure that the Project Promoter provides at least 15 percent of the estimated eligible Project cost.