Iceland Nature Institute: Puffin Stock in Danger Skip to content

Iceland Nature Institute: Puffin Stock in Danger

By Iceland Review

The puffin stock in the Westman Island is in such poor condition that it might end up on the bird “watch list” as defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

Puffins. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

The four generations that form the bird’s hunting stock are completely missing, Fréttabladid reports.

Erpur Snaer Hansen, director of ecological research at the South Iceland Nature Institute, explained that according to the definitions of IUCN, a bird stock is in serious trouble if it has decreased by 20 percent in ten years.

“According to our calculations the bird stock has decreased by 24 percent in only four years,” Hansen said.

According to Hansen, the puffin nesting season has been significantly delayed this year, and it is likely that a large part of the nesting stock will abort nesting due to lack of food; puffins mainly feed on sand eels.

The Westman Islands’ puffin nesting area is the largest in the world with the nesting stock counting almost 700,000 couples.

Hansen said the matter is simple: Puffin hunting must be banned in the Westman Islands for a few years but that decision must be made by the local authorities.

Click here to read more about puffin hunting in the Westman Islands.

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