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Reykjavík Proposes Environmental Protections

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Reykjavík Proposes Environmental Protections

Puffins in Iceland

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The City of Reykjavík has requested for the island of Akurey in Kollafjörður and the saltmarshes in Grafarvogur to be nationally protected. This is one of several recommendations in the newly-published strategy on biodiversity in the capital region in the coming decade.

Over the next three years the City plans to complete its protection plan for Rauðhólar and Eldborg in the Bláfjöll skiing mountains, and it will also complete research on Akurey island.

Reykjavík City biologist, Snorri Sigurðsson, says that Akurey is important to the nation’s puffin stock and is one of a few islands in Kollafjörður where they nest—though in the wider Faxaflói area, off Reykjavík, there is little puffin nesting overall, RÚV reports.

As the puffin has been in crisis in recent years, the Icelandic birding association has been pressing the City to put Akurey and Lundey under protection. Snorri says, however, that Lundey is not owned by the City, so cannot be included in the plan. He is happy to recommend to the Environment Agency the protection of Akurey. As well as puffins, there is also eider nesting on the island and the biggest cause of human traffic on the island is to collect eider down.

Overall, there are five islands in Kollafjörður: Akurey, Engey, Viðey, Þerney and Lundey.

Meanwhile, the saltmarshes in Grafarvogur are internationally important as a habitat for wading birds.

Official protection is one of only 200 recommendations in the Reykjavík environmental strategy.

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