Bad Year for Eagle Nesting

eagles in iceland

Compared with previous years, 2022 has been a bad year for the eagle population in Iceland.

In the summer, there were at least 58 known nesting pairs of eagles in Iceland, but of these, only 27 pairs produced some 38 chicks. Compared with 2021, some 45 nesting pairs produced 58 chicks.

Specialists blame bad spring weather this year, as nesting success can be shown to worsen the further north the pair nested.

Since 2019, GPS trackers have been used to trace the habitats and journeys of young eagles. In 2022, 14 fledgelings were outfitted with transmitters. Three of them died due to unknown causes, and others are still staying at their home nests through the winter when they will leave their nests.

The young birds carry their transmitters for life, so over time scientists hope to map their journeys and how their routes change over time. Using this information, specialists hope to be able to better anticipate where to establish conservation areas and where to limit infrastructure, such as potential wind turbines.

Nevertheless, Iceland’s eagle population has been doing well in recent years thanks to conservation efforts, with some 92 known eagles in just West Iceland, mostly nesting around Faxaflói.

The monitoring is being conducted in cooperation between the University of Iceland, the West Iceland Nature Research Centre, and local people.

Read more about Iceland’s Eagles here.

Iceland Moves to Reduce Marine Bycatch in Light of New US Import Regulations

fishing regulations iceland

Icelandic regulators are making moves to conform to new regulations of seafood imports in the United States, according to the latest information from the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries.

In an effort to promote more sustainable fishing practices among exporting nations, the US has announced the introduction of new regulations which limit the acceptable amount of marine bycatch produced by fishing. Originally announced in 2016 with a 5-year grace period for nations to conform to the new regulations, the implementation has been delayed in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving Icelandic fisheries extra time to meet the new rules.

Especially important in the Icelandic context is the amount of seabirds and seals affected by lumpfish fishing, a fishery traditionally for small boat fishermen. Some Icelanders have expressed concerns that the new regulations will disproportionately affect small-scale rural fishermen, who are already suffering economically.

Read more: US Extends Deadline for Marine Mammal Bycatch Regulations

According to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries, Iceland has already launched measures in response to the new US regulations.

Increased monitoring is being implemented, using ship logs, drones, and geospatial modelling to better understand the distribution of bycatch.

In response to the poor state of the seal population in Iceland, the direct hunting of seals has been banned. It is now forbidden to shoot seals to scare them away from fish farms, for instance.

Other methods are also being investigated to reduce bycatch, such as the use of sound repellents on fishing gear.

By both increasing the monitoring of wild fishing stocks, and also increasingly monitoring registered bycatch, Icelandic authorities hope to gain a fuller picture of their success in implementing these changes.

Read more: Can Iceland Save its Seals Without Hurting its Fishermen?

Another concern is that the relatively higher bycatch of smaller fisheries, such as lumpfish, could adversely affect the status of larger, more lucrative fisheries, such as cod. According to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries, while it is certain that seafood from fisheries with bycatch in excess of US guidelines will be prevented from entering the market, there is as of yet no final word on how seafood from other fisheries will be handled. It is also as of yet unclear whether the steps taken by Icelandic authorities will be considered sufficient to meet the US conditions.

The US regulations, after a delay, are now slated to come into effect on January 1, 2024.



Public Prosecutor to Continue Case Against Jónsi of Sigur Rós

sígur rós tax case

The public prosecutor will proceed with the charges of tax fraud against Sigur Rós member Jón Þór Birgisson, also known as Jónsi, reports RÚV.

The members of Sigur Rós were first charged with tax evasion in 2019 for failing to correctly declare income.

Throughout the case, the band have stated that they acted in good faith, submitting their tax income to an accountant who mishandled them.

Read more: Sigur Rós Members Acquitted in Tax Fraud Case

Although charges have been cleared against three other members of Sigur Rós for their personal tax statements, the case against Jónsi has centred around both his personal tax statements and those of his company, Frakkur.

According to a statement by Einar Tryggvason, prosecutor at the State Prosecutor’s Office, an acquittal is being sought in the case of Jón Þór’s personal taxes, but the charges relating to Frakkur still stand.

The charges relate to taxes filed between 2010 and 2014, and could represent up to ISK 146 million (USD 1,002,000; EUR 996,000) of unpaid taxes.

In connection with the case, several properties and vehicles belonging to Jónsi have been seized.

The case against the band was dismissed in May of last year, but an appellate court has since overruled the dismissal. Representatives of the band have been critical of the proceedings and of Icelandic law, saying that Jónsi has now been tried twice for the same crime. Representatives have also pointed towards recent legislation from Alþingi, which has prohibited double jeopardy.