BirdLife Iceland plans to propose the Ministry for the Environment ban the sale of puffin meat, RÚV reports. The proposed ban would also include products from other birds in the alcid family, whose numbers are decreasing globally. Puffins are an endangered species, whose numbers have declined largely due to climate change and overfishing.
Ornithologist Erpur Snær Hansen says too much puffin meat is served in Icelandic restaurants considering the birds face possible extinction. “How moral is it to pump out this meat like nothing is happening just to make money off it? While the situation is like this. I think the restaurant and tourist industries have to consider their role,” he stated.
Erpur says the government’s reaction to puffins and other bird species being in danger of extinction has been slow. “It’s as if the government has very little interest in this matter. These are of course large flocks and they are important in a global context,” he remarked.
The price of puffin meat rose sharply when large areas of Iceland instituted a ban on hunting the bird. Puffins are still hunted in North Iceland and available in restaurants across the country. “It’s sold a lot to those who can pay a high price, and that’s the restaurant market,” Erpur says.