When and where are the September sheep roundups scheduled?

icelandic sheep réttir
As you may have noticed from driving around Iceland’s countryside, there are many sheep. Historically, sheep were put to pasture in the highlands during the summer and then, as the weather turned for the worse, they were gathered up to be housed in sheds on the farmstead.
Farmers still live by this seasonal pattern in Iceland, letting their sheep roam the countryside and then rounding them up in the middle of September, the end of Iceland’s summer.
These roundups, or réttir, will vary depending on the community, but they all generally happen around the same time. Your best bet is to check the agricultural and farmers’ newspaper, Bændablaðið.
Réttir are a time when an entire community comes together to pitch in. It’s a lot of hard work to collect and wrangle all of the livestock, but many communities will also have a big party afterwards, called a Réttaball. There tends to be plenty of singing, dancing, and drinking at these celebrations, since it’s the last gasp of summer fun before the winter!

MAST Confirm Farmed Salmon Found in Mjólká in Arnarfjörður

The farmed salmon is larger than the wild salmon, wounded by salmon lice, with torn tails and damaged gill flaps.

In a recent report from the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST), 16 salmon caught in the Mjólká river in the Westfjords were confirmed to originate from farms.

Signs indicate that the salmon originate from open sea farms by Haganes, where a hole in the pen caused part of the stock to escape in August of 2021.

MAST reports that it will re-run the original DNA analysis to confirm its finding, and that they hope to trace the origin of the farmed salmon in better detail.

Of a sample of 32 salmon caught in the Mjólká river, 16 of them likely originated from farms. The other 16 were confirmed to be wild in origin.

The farm in question is owned and operated by Icelandic aquacultural company Arnarlax.

In a statement to RÚV, Karl Steinar Óskarsson, head of MAST’s aquaculture department, stated that “we always take it seriously when there’s a hole in a pen. No diseases have been found in the farmed salmon caught in Mjólká. It’s pretty clear that this fish has escaped. As soon as we have all the facts, we will update this information.”

Escaped farm salmon can pose a risk to local, wild stocks, as aquaculture farms can be breeding grounds for diseases not found in wild salmon. Should farm-raised salmon escape and breed with the wild stock, it could cause larger problems for the local ecosystem.

Iceland’s aquacultural industry has grown rapidly in recent years to meet rising demand for seafood. Such incidents have been recorded already beginning in 2018.

In Post-Ice Age First, Iceland Records 30m-Tall Tree

katrin jakobsdottir icelandic forest

An Icelandic tree planted in 1949 near Kirkjubæjarklaustur was recently measured at 30.15m, making it the tallest recorded tree in Iceland since the Ice Age.

The tree in question, a sitka spruce, was given the honorary title of “tree of the year” by the Icelandic Forest Service, an award given since 1989 to trees outstanding in their fields.

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir was present for the ceremony, and even helped with the triangulation of its height.

In a speech at the ceremony, Katrín spoke to the importance of Icelandic reforestation and the role that forests must play in Iceland’s climate goals. She additionally spoke to her own personal history with the forest at Kirkjubæjarklaustur, where she has several significant memories and experiences.

In addition to the PM, several other officials were present for the ceremony, such as Jónatan Garðarsson, chairman of the Icelandic Forestry Association.

 

 

 

Geysir’s Protected Status Confirmed in Signing Ceremony

iceland nature conservation geysir

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Minister of Environment, Energy, and Climate Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarsson took part in a ceremony yesterday at Geysir, in which they confirmed the area’s management and protection plan.

The namesake of all other geysers, Geysir is a well-known tourist attraction in Iceland and part of the “Golden Circle,” a popular drive near the capital area. However, many natural sites have been overwhelmed by increased tourism, leading to several sites including Skógafoss and Geysir being designated “at risk” in recent years.

nature conservation geysir iceland
Stjórnarráð Íslands

The Geysir area was originally protected by law in 2020, but this status is just now being recognized in a signing ceremony.

In addition to being a popular tourism destination, Geysir is home to many unique geological features, plant life, and microorganisms, meaning that the area is also important for scientific research. In addition to conserving the Geysir area, the new management plan hopes to place increased emphasis on education on Geysir’s significance.

At the ceremony, Katrín Jakobsdóttir stated: “The conservation of the Geysir area is an important step in nature conservation in Iceland, given its unique natural beauty. The conservation plan confirmed today ensures that future generations will be able to enjoy the area as we do today.”

Minister Guðlaugur added: “This management and protection plan presents ways to ensure that the objectives of conservation are achieved. When developing infrastructure, consideration should be given to local planning […] Development should guide visitors around the area and ensure that its conservation value is maintained.”

Þórdís Björt Sigþórsdóttir, manager of conservation and planning at the Environmental Agency, was also present for the ceremony. She stated that this was a necessary step in nature conservation in Iceland, and one that most Icelanders agree with. Indeed, she notes that many Icelanders were surprised to learn that Geysir was not already a protected area.