The town council of Vestmannaeyjar (the Westman Islands) is planning to authorize puffin hunting in the islands July 19-31 and possibly also August 6-13. Puffin hunting has been banned in this largest puffin colony in the world in the past two years due to the stock’s poor condition.
Puffins. Photo: Páll Stefánsson/Iceland Review.
The town council stated after its meeting on Wednesday last week that the decision is based on the importance of upholding the islands’ culture and tradition of bird hunting in cliffs. However, the council also stressed that the hunting should be discontinued if its sustainability is in doubt, Fréttablaðið reports.
Georg Eiður Arnarsson, one of the most experienced bird cliff hunters in Vestmannaeyjar, stated that the puffin stock is sensitive and emphasized that hunters care for its wellbeing, reasoning, “It’s similar as with the farmer who cultivates the land. He is of course the one who cares for it the most.”
The South Iceland Institute of Natural History released a statement following Wednesday’s meeting, pointing out that the town council had not consulted the institute before making its decision.
The institute maintained that nesting in the puffin colony in Vestmannaeyjar had failed in the past years and therefore puffin hunting in the islands is unsustainable.