Puffins Overhunted In Vestmannaeyjar

15.5.2013
Words by Alda Kravec
A recent study by Dr. Erpur Snær Hansen, a biologist with the Nature Labratory of Suðurland, has found that puffin hunting in Vestmannaeyjar is unsustainable, mbl reports.

According to Erpur’s research, the number of puffins hunted and killed every year in Vestmannaeyjar is almost twice the number of what is considered sustainable. 

The total puffin population of Iceland is estimated to be between 2.5-3 million birds. Most of the hunting takes place in Vestmannaeyjar where the puffin population was estimated at 830 000 pairs in 2010. Between 1968-2007, an average of 77 600 puffins were killed on the islands every year. However, only about half that number, or 36 300, is considered sustainable. 

Erpur further states that the Environment Agency of Iceland does not properly keep track of the number of puffins killed annually. He says that puffin hunters, who number between 100-200 nationwide, fail to report their actual annual kill rates to the Environment Agency so that its figures do not add up with those of hunting log books.

Erpur’s research findings, which also deal with other birds of the auk family, are expected to be published in the fall. 

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