Trial in Ólafsfjörður Murder Case Scheduled for Next Week

Metropolitan Police

A man accused of homicide in Ólafsfjörður last year is said to have stabbed the deceased twice in the left side, resulting in fatal bleeding, RÚV reports. The case is scheduled for trial next week.

Stabbed the man twice

A man in his thirties has been charged with the murder of a man in Ólafsfjörður in North Iceland last year. The defendant reportedly stabbed the victim twice in the left side, causing him to bleed to death, RÚV reports.

The prosecutor is seeking for the accused, 37, to be sentenced and to cover all legal costs. Additionally, there are two separate civil claims against him: one demanding compensation totalling ISK 12 million [$88,000 / €83,000] plus interest, and the other seeking damages amounting to just under ISK 11 million [$81,000 / €76,000] plus interest, due to the loss of the provider. The deceased was 46 years old.

Unable to rule out self defence

The man died from stab wounds in his home in Ólafsfjörður on the eve of Monday, October 3, Last Year. Originally, three individuals were detained in custody, but two were soon released: the wife of the deceased and the homeowner. The accused claimed that the deceased initiated the confrontation, and the evidence in the case supported this, according to the custody order.

In the police incident report, it is noted that the deceased is believed to have attacked the accused with a knife. According to the defendant, he tried to wrestle the knife away from the deceased, who then fell onto the knife and was fatally wounded. Among other details, the custody decision highlighted that it could not be ruled out that provisions of the Penal Code on self-defence were applicable. Nevertheless, the accused’s detention was extended, in part due to suspicions of his involvement in other crimes.

He was released from prison in March 2022 on parole, with an unplanned remaining sentence of 220 days. According to the detention order, he had at least six encounters with the police since then.

The accused was held in custody for just over a month, until November 7. He is the only one being prosecuted in the case, which is set for trial in the District Court of Northeast Iceland on Tuesday, September 26.

49,000 Icelanders (13.2% of the population) Currently Live Abroad

pedestrian street Laugavegur Reykjavík

According to new data from Registers Iceland, almost 49,000 Icelanders have a registered legal residence outside Iceland. Denmark, Sweden, and Norway remain the most popular destinations among Icelanders.

The Nordic countries remain the most popular

On Wednesday, January 25, Registers Iceland published data on the number of Icelandic citizens living abroad (as of December 1, 2022). According to the data, 48,951 Icelanders live outside the country, or 13.2% of the total population. This figure has increased by more than five thousand over the period of a single year, Registers Iceland notes.

The Nordic countries remain the most popular destination for Icelanders: 62.1% of Icelandic citizens who have a registered legal domicile abroad are registered in the Nordic countries. 11,590 Icelanders currently reside in Denmark (or over 3% of the population), 9,278 in Norway, and 8,933 in Sweden. Approximately 30,000 Icelanders live in these three countries.

6,492 Icelanders live in the United States (which is followed by Great Britain, Germany, and Canada).

Only one registered Icelandic citizen in 15 countries

As noted by Registers Iceland, as of December 1, 2022, Icelanders had a registered legal residence in a total of 100 countries out of the 193 member states of the United Nations. The article also contains the following, interesting tidbit:

“It is interesting to note that 15 countries had only a single Icelandic citizen with a registered legal domicile. These are the countries Albania, Angola, Belize, Ecuador, Ghana, Guinea, India, Iran, Kenya, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mauritius, Pakistan, Panama and Somalia.”

Number of Icelandic Residents Nearing 400,000

Locals and tourists enjoy the sunshine in Reykjavík's Austurvöllur square.

The number of Icelandic residents increased by 2,570 in the fourth quarter of last year, Vísir reports. The increase means that a total of 387,800 people were living in Iceland at the end of 2022.

Most Icelanders emigrated to Denmark

According to a press release from Statistics Iceland, a total of 387,800 people were living in Iceland at the end of the fourth quarter of 2022 (an increase of 2,570): “199,840 men, 187,840 women, and 130 were transgender/other.” Of these 387,800 people, 247,590 people were residing in the capital area, compared to 140,210 in the rest of the country.

The press release also notes that during the fourth quarter of 2022, “1,040 children were born and 650 people died. At the same time, 2,110 more people immigrated to the country than emigrated; Icelandic citizens who emigrated from the country exceeded the number of citizens who returned to the country by 60. Meanwhile, foreign citizens who immigrated to Iceland were 2,170 more numerous than those who emigrated from the country. More men than women emigrated from the country,” the announcement states.

Most of the Icelandic citizens who emigrated left for Denmark, or 110 people during the quarter in question. “230 Icelandic citizens moved to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden out of a total of 430. Of the 1,150 foreign nationals who left the country, most, or 340 people, went to Poland.”

Similarly, most of the Icelandic citizens who returned to Iceland arrived from Denmark, or 140. Forty people arrived from Norway and 70 from Sweden. Most of the foreign nationals who immigrated to Iceland arrived from Poland, or 720 out of a total of 3,320 foreign immigrants. The second most numerous group of foreign nationals immigrating to Iceland originated from Ukraine, or 580. Foreign citizens were 65,090 or 16.8% of the total population.

A population projection from Statistics Iceland predicts that Iceland’s population will be 461,000 in 2069.

2022 (Year-In Review): The Good News Is …

fireworks new year's eve Reykjavík

Such is the nature of the news that it often focuses on the negative; bad things tend to happen quickly – and large-scale trends are overlooked. As Swedish author Hans Rosling once pointed out, if newspapers would only be published every 100 years, the messaging, in all likelihood, would be very different, e.g., highlighting how many people were raised above the poverty line, the gradual decline in infant mortality rates, etc.

“We’ve cut the number of people living in extreme poverty by half over the last twenty years, but there was never a morning when “POVERTY RATES DROP INCREMENTALLY” dominated newspaper headlines,” Bill Gates wrote in 2018, summarising the ideas of Rosling.

In this edition of our year-in-review, we highlight a few positive news stories, intended to balance out the negative – and to remind readers that there is still a lot of good in the world:

Safety Signs and Cameras Installed at Reynisfjara Beach (December)

Safety signs
New signs at Reynisfjara beach (photo courtesy of the Icelandic Tourist Board)

Last summer, a consultation team was established in order to better ensure the safety of visitors to Reynisfjara beach, a popular travel destination near the town of Vík in South Iceland. As noted in an article in Iceland Review from 2019, the tides that lap the black sand beaches of Reynisfjara possess “an immensely strong undertow, and waves that creep quickly upon travellers.”

As of last summer, five travellers had died on Reynisfjara beach since 2013.

As noted in a press release from the Icelandic Tourist Board earlier this month, the consultation team recommended the installation of informatory signage on the beach, which has now been completed. In addition to the signs, a 300-metre long chain was strung alongside the parking lot, guiding visitors along a path and past the signs. Cameras were also installed on a mast on the beach ridge, which will stream live video from the beach to the police authorities in Selfoss.

Hussein Hussein Returns to Iceland (November)

Asylum seeker protest Reykjavík

The deportation of Hussein Hussein, a refugee from Iraq who uses a wheelchair, in November caused widespread outrage; footage surfaced on social media of authorities forcefully removing him from his wheelchair, in addition to airport authorities attempting to suppress media coverage.

In December, however, the District Court of Reykjavík ruled that Hussein’s deportation had been illegal. Following the decision, Hussein and his family returned to Iceland from Greece.

Although Hussein and his family have won their suit against the Immigration and Asylum Appeals Board, it is still possible for state representatives to appeal the case to the Court of Appeals. At this time, state representatives have made no comments with regard to this possibility.

Road Administration Launches New Website (October)

www.umferdin.is
www.umferdin.is (screenshot)

The Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration launched a new website in October, offering more detailed information on road and weather conditions. This was good news in light of the often hazardous conditions on Icelandic roads, especially during winter.

According to a press release from IRCA, this new website – which replaces the previous road-conditions map on the administration’s site (www.road.is) – is “more advanced, more accessible (especially on smart devices), and will offer greater opportunities for development going forward.”

If you’re planning on a road trip, we recommend consulting the website prior to leaving.

Geysir’s Protected Status Confirmed in Signing Ceremony (September)

Geysir Iceland tourism
by Golli

The Geysir area was originally protected by law in 2020, but its status was officially recognized with a signing ceremony in September.

In addition to being a popular tourism destination – and the namesake of all other geysers – 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.”

Scrapie-Resistant Sheep Become a Reality (August)

A sheep waiting to be sorted into its pen in Þverárrétt
Tara Tjörva. A sheep waiting to be sorted into its pen in Þverárrétt

Over a dozen rams with scrapie-resistant genes were sold for breeding this fall. Bred in Reyðarfjörður in East Iceland, the sheep carry a special gene, and it is hoped that they will help form a more resilient stock in Iceland.

The gene, called ARR, is not found anywhere else in Iceland. It has been recognised internationally as scrapie-resistant, and herds with the ARR gene have already been bred in Europe for some two decades.

Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease found in sheep and goats, the ovine equivalent of mad cow disease. There is no cure, and even one case of scrapie can be a death sentence for an entire agricultural community. If a sheep tests positive for scrapie, the entire herd is culled, the entire farm’s hay must be destroyed, and the entire farm and its implements must be sanitised, either chemically or through fire. Even after this deep-cleaning, farmers are not able to raise sheep for a set time, and the scorched-earth policy may even affect neighbouring herds and farms.

For the full story on the fight against scrapie and the efforts to breed this new, resistant stock, read more in our article: Good Breeding.

New Plant to Capture Ten Times More CO2 from Atmosphere at Hellisheiði (July)

Carbfix Hellisheiðarvirkjun
Carbfix

In June, spokesperson for the Hellisheiði Power Station announced the construction of a new plant, capable of capturing 36,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide directly out of the atmosphere, increasing the direct air carbon capture at Hellisheiði Power Station tenfold.

Named Mammoth, the new facility adds to the existing 4,000 tonnes captured by the plant Orca, which commenced operations at the same location in September 2021, the first of its kind in the world. The plants are a project of Swiss company Climeworks, in collaboration with Carbfix and ON Power.

Construction is expected to last 18-24 months before operations commence.

Increased Legal Rights for Victims of Sexual Assault in Iceland (June)

As of June of this year, victims of sexual assault in Iceland were granted increased rights: receiving information on the proceedings of the police investigation of their case and permitted to be present at the trial, thanks to legislative amendments passed by Parliament.

A spokesperson from Stígamót, a centre for survivors of sexual violence, stated that the changes were a step forward but more needed to be done:

“I think this is a turning point and shows that there is will within the system towards victims of violence and there is a strong need for that. As we know, many cases are dismissed and victims are often unhappy with how they are received in the legal system and feel their need for justice is not fulfilled,” Steinunn Gyðu- og Guðjónsdóttir, a spokesperson for Stígamót, stated.

Unpublished Poem by Davíð Stefánsson Discovered (May)

Davíð Stefánsson
Screenshot from RÚV

In May, a curator of the Akureyri Museum announced that they had likely discovered a 19-verse poem by celebrated poet Davíð Stefánsson (best known for his volumes of poetry). The style of the poem and the handwriting offered a strong indication of its origin, suggesting that it may be among the very first poems that Davíð composed.

“We believe that Davíð composed the poem during his school years,” Haraldur Þór Egilsson, curator of the Akureyri Museum, told Fréttablaðið. “It was probably written before Svartar fjaðrir (Black Feathers) was published.”

Svartar Fjaðrir (Black Feathers) was Davíð Stefánsson’s first book of poetry, published in 1919. As noted on the website of the Akureyri Museum, the book was “accorded immediate acclaim and established the young author’s reputation. His poems captured the feelings and longings of the general public in crisp, clear and picturesque writing.”

Forests Cover 2% of Iceland, Icelandic Forestry Service Announces (April)

Skógræktin, FB

In late March, the Icelandic Forestry Association (IFA) held a conference to celebrate an important milestone, namely that forests and bushes had increased to cover over 2% of Iceland.

That number may not seem like much, but since 1990, the surface area covered by forest or shrubs in Iceland has increased more than six times over – from 7,000 hectares to 45,000. In 20 years, the number is expected to be 2.6%.

“This is big news,” stated Arnór Snorrason, a forester at the IFA research station at Mógilsá. It’s not only forestry efforts that have increased these numbers, but also Iceland’s remaining natural birch forests, which Arnór says have finally begun expanding for the first time since Iceland was settled.

Fewer Icelandic Teens Drinking and Having Sex (March)

Nightlife after COVID in Reykjavík
Golli

In 2006, 36% of Icelandic girls in the 10th grade stated that they had had intercourse, and 29% of boys of the same age. In March of this year, a new survey indicated that those figures had fallen to 24% among girls and 27% among boys.

The data originated from an international survey called Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children, which has been carried out in Iceland since 2006.

“Decreased alcohol consumption is likely a big factor,” University of Iceland Professor Ársæll Arnarsson, who is a director of Icelandic youth research, told Fréttablaðið. “Drinking among Icelandic teenagers has decreased sharply in recent decades and the same can be said of other countries to which we compare ourselves, though the development there has not been as decisive as here in Iceland.”

Iceland Lifts All COVID-19 Restrictions (February)

reykjavík nightlife covidOn midnight February 25, All COVID-19 social restrictions were officially lifted.

Individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus were no longer required to quarantine, and all disease prevention measures at the border were abolished.

To celebrate this milestone, Iceland Review hit the Reykjavík nightlife to interview partygoers on the new reality. Read the full article here.

 

Record Number of Icelanders Travelled Abroad in October

Nearly 72,000 Icelanders travelled abroad in October. Never before have as many Icelanders departed the country in October since measurements began. At the same time, 159,000 foreign travellers departed from Keflavík Airport in October, most of whom were American.

A strong desire to “get moving”

The Icelandic Tourist Board reported yesterday that 72,000 Icelanders – a fifth of the total population – travelled abroad in October. Never, since measurements began, have as many Icelanders departed from Keflavík Airport in the month of October.

“This confirms that Icelanders behave just like people from other countries. Their will to travel has grown, with a strong desire to get moving having gradually accumulated,” Jóhannes Þór Skúlason, Director of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association, told Fréttablaðið.

Pre-pandemic levels in 2024

The Icelandic Tourist Board also reported that nearly 159,000 foreign travellers departed from Keflavík Airport in October. According to information from Isavia, this represents the fourth most numerous departures from Iceland in October since measurements began. Departures from Iceland in 2022 have generally amounted to ca. 90% of departures in 2018, suggesting that air traffic will soon reach record highs.

“It’s gradual success and nothing else,” Jóhannas Þór observed. “Demand this year has been much greater than expected,” he added, noting that it would take more than one summer to recover from the effects of pandemic-imposed social restrictions.

“The problem is, and will remain, multifaceted, and relates to staffing shortages and debt accumulation; the financial state of companies in the travel sector won’t improve overnight. We estimate that we’ll be where we were before the pandemic in 2024.”

Travellers from the United States accounted for the largest share of tourists in Iceland in October, or approximately a third of all tourists.

Sjón Withdraws from Literary Festival Due to PM’s Participation

Katrín Jakobs Svandís Svavars Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörns press conference

The Icelandic writer Sjón has announced his withdrawal from this year’s Iceland Noir Festival owing to the participation of Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir. Writing on Twitter yesterday, Sjón cited “the cruel treatment of asylum seekers” by Katrín’s cabinet.

The darkest time of the year

Iceland Noir is a literary festival held in Reykjavík celebrating “darkness in all its forms.” Founded in 2013 by authors Ragnar Jónasson and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Iceland Noir began as a celebration of crime fiction but has gradually evolved to welcome writers outside the genre while also including television and film screenings alongside panels.

This year’s festival will be held between November 16 and 19 and will be headlined by Bernardine Evaristo and Richard Osman alongside Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir. Other notable guests include First Lady of Iceland Eliza Reid, English novelist Mark Billingham – and Icelandic writer Sjón.

Yesterday, however, Sjón announced that he was withdrawing from the festival due to the participation of PM Katrín Jakobsdóttir:

Controversial expulsion of asylum seekers

Sjón’s announcement follows on the heels of fifteen asylum seekers being deported from Iceland. Among those deported was a disabled Iraqi, in Iceland with a family of five, whose lawyer has told the media that he is preparing a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights.

The treatment of the man inspired public outcry and a protest was held on Austurvöllur Square, in front of Parliament, at 5.15 PM yesterday. The protest was organised by No Borders Iceland and Solaris (an aid organisation providing assistance to asylum seekers and refugees in Iceland) and was “well attended” according to Vísir.

Katrín Jakobsdóttir spoke to Vísir in response to the public outcry yesterday, maintaining that it was “only natural for people to become upset” whenever force was applied in cases such as these:

“But what we must look into, in particular – and I think that I speak for everyone – is the treatment of the disabled person, who was among those asylum seekers who were deported. It’s extremely important that we take great pains when it comes to vulnerable groups of people and that we ensure that his rights were fully respected.”

Isavia, Iceland’s national airport and air navigation service provider, apologised for hindering the work of photojournalists during the deportations at Keflavík Airport.

Record Number of Coronavirus Deaths Since Start of 2022

vaccination Laugardalshöll

Deaths from COVID-19 have hit a record high, Vísir reports, with 188 people having died from the coronavirus since the beginning of 2022. According to Chief Epidemiologist Guðrún Aspelund, the effect of COVID-19 far outweighs the effects of other infectious diseases such as influenza.

Mainly individuals 70 years and older

Deaths from COVID-19 have surged since the start of 2022, Vísir reports. Thirty-one people died from the coronavirus in 2020 compared to eight in 2021. During the first ten months of 2022, however, that number has risen to 188.

According to Chief Epidemiologist Guðrún Aspelund, this upswing in cases owes primarily to the highly infectious Omicron variant and the fact that no social restrictions are in place. Deaths have mainly occurred among individuals seventy years and older.

“Which is why we’re encouraging older people, everyone sixty years and older, and those who are at risk, to get their booster shots. That’s the best form of protection,” Guðrún remarked, adding that protection from vaccines diminishes over a period of a few months.

“We’ve also got new vaccines now that offer protection against the original variant of coronavirus and Omicron, which offers better protection. We need to repeat these vaccinations to enter into winter with good protection.”

Read More: Long-form Interview with former chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason

Guðrún observed that Iceland’s neighbouring countries have also been seeing a rise in cases in 2022. “Confirmed deaths from COVID-19 are believed to be around six and a half million. But there are many who believe that those figures are at least twice as high – thousands of people are still dying from coronavirus every week.”

According to Guðrún, deaths from coronavirus are significantly higher than deaths from influenza. Coronavirus deaths in Iceland are, however, lower when compared to other countries, with Iceland having the lowest death toll among the Nordic countries.

When asked to speculate why, Guðrún pointed to Iceland’s speedy vaccination campaign, its social restrictions, and the fact that the healthcare system had responded well. “I think we can chalk up this achievement to these factors along with the participation of the citizenry.”

Iceland Ranked World’s 20th Most Innovative Nation

Ms. Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, Minister of Justice, Ms. Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation, Mr. Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister of Finance and Economic affairs.

Iceland ranks 20th among the world’s most innovative nations according to the new global innovation index. Switzerland, the US, and Sweden remain top.

The Global Innovation Index

The Global Innovation Index is “an annual ranking of countries by their capacity for, and success in, innovation.” The index – started in 2007 by INSEAD and World Business – is published by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and is based on both subjective and objective data derived from several sources, including the International Telecommunication Union, the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum.

Falling three places from 2021, Iceland ranks 20th according to this year’s index (the confidence interval indicates that Iceland ranks somewhere between 15th and 20th) and 12th among European countries.

Read More: Idea Island (Iceland Is Investing in Innovation)

As noted by the government’s website, Iceland’s standing may be somewhat skewed by its size and abundance of natural resources: “As a small country, by international standards, Iceland draws the short straw when it comes to several criteria employed by WIPO during the index’s calculus; the criteria is not patterned to small nations rich in natural resources.”

To this point, Iceland scores high (14th place) in the categories Institutions and Business Sophistication, and is ranked first when it comes to the use of information and communication technologies, electricity output, share of gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) financed from abroad, number of scientific articles published per capita, national feature films, and online creativity.

On the other hand, Iceland scores low when it comes to the ratio of gross-domestic-product (GDP)-to-energy-use (129th), a proxy for energy efficiency; the size of the domestic market (129th); the value of inward direct investment made by non-resident investors (127th); and graduates in science and engineering (85th).

As noted in a recent article in Iceland Review magazine, Iceland may have “hopped on the startup train a bit later than other countries, but its startup environment has taken huge strides in recent years.” In 2019, the Icelandic government penned its first-ever comprehensive innovation policy, and at the end of 2020, the newly-elected government established a Ministry of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, suggesting that policymakers are “not overlooking what startups have to offer the nation.”

2.3 Million Tourists to Visit Iceland in 2023, Model Predicts

tourists on perlan

A predictive model expects 1.7 million tourists to visit Iceland through Keflavík Airport this year. The model expects this number to increase by 600,000 in 2023.

Predictive models

Dr. Gunnar Haraldsson, founder and CEO of the economic consultancy firm Intellecon, has led the development of a statistical model employed, among other things, to forecast tourist visits to Iceland. The project began in the fall of 2020.

Yesterday, Gunnar addressed the audience at a meeting hosted by the Icelandic Tourist Board. In his lecture, he introduced the model and some of its predictions, among them – that 1.7 million tourists would visit Iceland in 2022.

Speaking to RÚV, Gunnar stated that the model predicted 600,000 more tourists to visit Iceland in 2023: “Next year, we predict that number to increase to 2.3 million. All of this comes with caveats since there are a number of uncertainties that can impact the model.”

Alongside forecasting visits, Gunnar Haraldsson and his team also predict revenue and overnight stays. “We’re looking into credit-card turnover. The model predicts that tourists will spend ca. ISK 250 billion ($1.7 billion / €1.8 billion) this year and ISK 330 billion ($2.3 billion / €2.3 billion) next year. And so you can say that tourists spend a considerable amount on products and services in Iceland. Our numbers are predicated on data from local credit card companies,” Gunnar told RÚV.

Gunnar added that winter tourism was picking up steam, with some indications that seasonal fluctuations are gradually evening out. Overnight stays in 2022 are predicted to reach 4.5 million but will rise to 5.5 million next year. The model further predicts that 3.5 million tourists will visit Iceland in the year 2030. As noted in the press release by the Icelandic Tourist Board, this would mean a 50% increase from 2018, which was a record year for tourist visits to Iceland.

Ptarmigan Quota Increased for Upcoming Hunting Season

The Ministry of the Environment, Energy, and Climate has announced that the annual ptarmigan hunting season will begin on November 1 and conclude on December 4. This year’s hunting quota has been set at 26,000 birds, an increase of 6,000 from last year.

Poor recruitment in Northeast and West Iceland

Rock ptarmigan are still hunted in Iceland as they are considered a delicacy, often consumed on Christmas Eve. The Icelandic Institute of Natural History claims the preservation status the ptarmigan gained in 2003 has helped to significantly restore numbers. In May, the institute reported that the ptarmigan population was nearing its zenith in West and Northwest Iceland in the Westfjords while the population was likely declining in Northeast and East Iceland. In August, the institute reported poor recruitment in Northeast and West Iceland. The total ptarmigan population was estimated at just under 300,000 birds.

Yesterday, Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, Minister for the Environment, Energy, and Climate, announced the arrangement of this year’s ptarmigan hunting season. An announcement on the government’s website stated that hunting season shall last from November 1 to December 4, between 12 noon and sunset, from Tuesdays to Fridays. This year’s arrangement is similar to last year’s, with the exception that the quota has been increased to 26,000 birds, an increase of 6,000.

Hunters asked to show moderation

Guðlaugur Þór also asked hunters to show moderation in light of the recruitment failure in Northeast and West Iceland: poor weather conditions this spring and summer are the likely explanation. The minister further encouraged hunters to refrain from hunting in large numbers in Northeast Iceland. Lastly, the announcement iterates the ban on ptarmigan sales, which applies equally to the sale of ptarmigan to resellers and others.

“I’ve emphasised that the Environment Agency of Iceland should expedite the creation of a management and protection plan for the ptarmigan and that the arrangement of hunting season should based on that plan in the future,” the press release reads.

The statement adds that a timeline for the management and protection plan, which involves a high level of cooperation with interested parties, has been established and that the plan would likely be introduced in May of 2023.