Twenty-Five Fold Increase in Birdlife in Kolgrafafjörður

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Twenty-Five Fold Increase in Birdlife in Kolgrafafjörður

By Zoë Robert
Kolgrafafjörður

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

There has been a 25-fold increase in birds in Kolgrafafjörður, Snæfellsnes peninsula, since the mass herring deaths in late 2012-early 2013, according to director of the West Iceland Center of Natural History Róbert Arnar Stefánsson.

Róbert told ruv.is that before the herring deaths, there had been an average of between 1,000 and 1,500 birds in the area but according to recent counts there are now close to 25,000 birds. 

“Kolgrafafjörður is like a magnet for birds and marine mammals. The area has attracted birds from the whole region,” he said.

There are currently around 38 species of birds in the area including gulls, cormorants and eagles. There has also been an increase in the number of orcas, seals and other marine mammals in the area.

As reported, Kolgrafafjörður has been proving popular with tourists. Up to 200 people visited the area on Wednesday.

An estimated 50,000 tons of herring died in the fjord in December 2012 and February 2013 after entering the fjord. The fish are believed to have died due to lack of oxygen in the fjord caused by a landfill and bridge constructed across the fjord in December 2004. An extensive cleanup operation took place as well as experiments to drive away the herring, which have continued to enter the fjord.

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