Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources of Iceland, has signed for the expansion of the nature reserve in Flatey, which will double its size.
Flatey is a small island, one of thousands, that dots Breiðafjörður south of the Westfjords and north of Snæfellsnes peninsula. This move will increase its size to 1.62 square kilometres, as Vísir reports.
The purpose of the expansion is to preserve the biodiversity of the island which is home to many bird species including the red phalarope, grouse and puffin. Flatey is also home to diverse plant life as eelgrass, uncommon in Icelandic waters, is found here.
Breiðafjörður itself is an area protected by law, and this extension of Flatey will extend beyond the island, skerries and islets to the seabed and aquatic ecosystem as well.
The island is already well known to scientists and bird enthusiasts. As stated in the government announcement, one purpose of this expansion is to allow for important research, education and preservation. The ecosystem will be monitored with a focus on the habitat and breeding habits of native birds.
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources press release points out that there is a long-standing and strong connection between humans and nature at Flatey. It is also a popular tourist stop for bird and nature enthusiasts.
“Flatey is the undisputed pearl of Breiðafjörður,” said Guðmundur in the press release.
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