Inhabitants of the Faroe Islands have taken part in their traditional 'grindadrap' - a gruesome hunt for pilot whales.

Grindadrap, translated as whale hunting in Faroese, annually takes place near the capital city of Torshavn on 22 Nov. It has been a tradition for the islanders since the days of the Vikings.

During the hunt, boats are used to drive the whales into a bay and onto the beach, where their spinal cords are severed. The meat, which has been a central part of their diet for more than 1,000 years, is then divided between members of the community on the archipelago of islands, which is an autonomous region of Denmark.

There were five whale drives between January and September this year, with a total catch of 406 pilot whales, according to a Faroese government statement.

While pilot whales are not considered an endangered species, health experts have warned that they contain high levels of toxins and animal rights activists have called for the hunt to be banned.