Seal Numbers Swell in North Iceland Skip to content
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Photo: Golli.

Seal Numbers Swell in North Iceland

Seals numbers have risen on Vatnsnes peninsula, North Iceland, according to the results of a seal count conducted last weekend, RÚV reports. A team of experts and volunteers counted 718 seals in the region, up from 580 when the last count was done in 2016. Icelandic Seal Centre CEO Páll L. Sigurðsson believes a seal hunting ban has had a positive impact on the population.

The count was conducted over an area stretching across more than 100km (62mi) on the Vatnsnes and Heggstaðanes peninsulas. “We counted 718 seals, which is considerably better than the last three times. The last time we counted, 2016, we got 580 seals. So we are very happy that the population isn’t decreasing rather is at least staying consistent,” Páll stated.

Seals hunted over salmon

Seal counts have been conducted on Vatnsnes since 2007 and the average number has been 757 animals. Páll believes the seal hunting ban implemented two years ago has helped keep the population steady. “That people aren’t killing seals at estuaries where there were salmon. People had the misconception that seals were eating the salmon and then they were killed on sight, we can put it that way.”

Volunteer counters both local and foreign

Páll expressed gratitude for the interested in the project, both from media and tourists. “There was very good participation, altogether there were 58, and 55 that walked or hiked Vatnsnes and Heggstaðanes. So we are very pleased and thankful for that group of volunteers.” Another count is planned for next year and organisers hope to make it an annual event. Páll says the information gathered will be useful to seal research in the coming decades.

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