Fewer Puffins in Iceland Tend to Their Eggs Skip to content

Fewer Puffins in Iceland Tend to Their Eggs

This year more puffins have stopped tending to their eggs due to lack of food than in previous years, according to Erpur Snaer Hansen, divisional manager of ecological research at the South Iceland Nature Institute.

A puffin. Photo by Geir Ólafsson.

Puffin chicks are very dependent on sand eels in the first weeks after hatching, Fréttabladid reports.

The Icelandic Marine Research Institute recently completed studies of the sand eel stock in Icelandic waters.

“The main conclusion is that renewal in the sand eel stock in the past two years is not sufficient to maintain the stock,” said Valur Bogason at the Marine Research Institute in the Westman Islands. He led the sand eel expedition, which ended on Thursday.

The sand eel stock is now mainly comprised of fish from 2007—that generation has been dominant in the past three years, Bogason stated.

The condition of sand eels was studied in four locations: Breidafjördur fjord between Snaefellsnes peninsula in west Iceland and the West Fjords, Faxaflói bay between the Reykjanes and Snaefellsnes peninsulas, and the waters around the Westman Islands and Vík in south Iceland. “The situation of the sand eel stock is comparatively best in Faxaflói,” Bogason said.

Sand eels are important food for sea birds, fish and whales.

Click here to read more about puffins in Iceland.

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