MP: Hornstrandir Needs Protection From Cruise Ships - The Reykjavik Grapevine

MP: Hornstrandir Needs Protection From Cruise Ships

Published November 22, 2015

Photos by
Silverkey/Wikimedia Commons

An MP for the Progressive Party has called for measures to be taken to prevent cruise ships from disembarking at the protected areas of Hornstrandir.

Westfjords news service Bæjarins bestu reports that Þorsteinn Sæmundsson, an MP for the Progressive Party, brought up the matter of the protected natural areas of Hornstrandir, the northernmost peninsula of the Westfjörds, in parliament last Tuesday.

“The protected areas in Hornstrandir are one of the most precious, and one of the most sensitive, natural pearls that we Icelanders have,” he said. “It is then very troubling if a large group of tourists take the back door into a protected area, so to speak.”

He said that the situation should be taken as a call to parliament to review current laws, and revise them to prevent cruise ships – which frequently visit the Westfjörds, amongst other locations around Iceland – from allowing tourists to disembark in areas under legal protection from human visitors.

“I emphasise that it is not really justifiable for a large group of tourist to sneak into Hornvík, almost every week, and trample the sensitive ecosystem there,” he said. “We have barely been able to direct traffic around that protected area, and we have to use every means at our disposal to prevent people from getting into areas that cannot be repaired.”

Hornstrandir is almost entirely uninhabited, and home to a great many nesting areas. It is possible to visit on foot, but only in designated areas. Visitors are advised to abide signs indicating protected areas, for the sake of flora and fauna in the area.

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