Good attendance at the Icelandic Seal Center this summer

There has been a good turnout at the Icelandic Seal Center this summer and we have had more visitors this mid-summer than last year. Icelanders, as well as foreign tourists, have been diligent in visiting us. We have received visits from school groups, tourist groups, both foreign and Icelanders.

The questions about the seals in the show have been great luck in all age groups, especially in families. The main exhibition is in Icelandic, English, and German.

Local Ice Cream

At the beginning of the summer, on the Seal Center’s 15th anniversary, we started working with Rjómabúið in Erpstaðir and we sell local ice cream from them until the end of August.

We encourage locals as well as others to have a good day and visit the Seal Center.

The Great Seal Count 2021 – result

A total of 718 seals were seen in the great seal count, which took place for the eleventh time on July, 25th

The Icelandic Seal Center would like to thank all the 58 volunteers who took part in the count this year. This year we received e.g. volunteers from Germany, Finland, Israel, the United States, England, Italy, France, and a good group from World Wide Friends (

The Great Seal Count in Iceland 2021

Volunteers Needed at the Icelandic Seal Center
Come join us for our annual Great Seal Count at the Icelandic Seal Center. We need groups of volunteers to count seals along the coastline of the Vatnsnes Peninsula.

Sunday, July 25 at 13.00, the Great Seal Count will be held by the Icelandic Seal Center in Hvammstangi. We encourage everyone to participate, whether you are a local, landowner, or tourist on your trip around the country. Participation gives people the opportunity to see harbor seals in their natural environment.

Program for the counting day:

At 13:00 is the delivery of data, presentation, and training at the Seal Center. Coffee and drinks are available for participants.

At 15.00-19.00, the seal count takes place.
When you are finished, registration of data online or submission of data inbox at the Icelandic Seal Center.

Information for field participants

  • It is important to count only seals that are “inside” your area so that each seal is only counted once
  • You write down the all seals you can see, whether they are on land or at sea, also write down the time!
  • REMEMBER! Not all of you will see seals, but is important to us to know where the seals are and how many. So even if you do not see a seal, that´s very important information to us.
  • Please walk carefully and do not make noise since that may scare the seals away before you can count them! For same reason, please do not bring a dog
  • Close all gates, respect the animals in the area and do not walk over cultivated land (crops)


This is a wonderful opportunity to volunteer with the Icelandic Seal Center.  We are dedicated to developing sustainable wildlife tourism and research and education on the status of the seal populations of Iceland.  We rely on volunteers like you to help us with our research. The seal count aims to support further research by gaining knowledge of the number of seals in these areas and continuing to develop sustainable tourism in wildlife viewing.

The counting consists of counting seals in Vatnsnes and Heggstaðanes, but the area will be divided into many different areas (about 2-7km long) and everyone should find a distance that suits them. The large seal count is a fun experience and it is well worth coming and participating in the center’s research work. Before you head out on the peninsula, there will be a short presentation about the Great Seal Count along with information about the research at 13.00.

Do you have a passion for marine wildlife? If yes, volunteer 🙂

Code of conduct for seal watching


The summer is here in Northwestern Iceland and visitors are increasing in our area and around seal colonies. We remind you of being careful around the seals and make sure not to disturb them.

It´s good to keep the following in mind:

Be mindful: The seals are in their natural habitat and we are observers.

Protect the seals from disturbance during seal watching:

  • Move gently, keep your voice down- never throw objects
  • Keep respectful distance (100m)- never touch
  • Never approach a sole pup- the female is nearby
  • Move away if seals show signs of disturbance- head-up/vigilance or fleeing
  • Drones scare the seals. No drones, please.

New Book Chapter from DRT

A new book chapter, from Jessica Aquino and Georgette Leah Burns :

Creative tourism destinations offer the potential to enhance the local economy and community livelihoods by producing authentic and creative products for consumption. Over the past few decades the residents of Húnaþing vestra proactively built a creative tourism product as a strategy for enhancing resilience in their small rural community in northwest Iceland. Using a case study analysis approach, coupled with data collected from observations and interviews, we explore creative tourism in Húnaþing vestra, describing the concept behind Selasetur Íslands (the Icelandic Seal Center) and how it continues to play an integral part in maintaining a novel approach to supporting sustainable cultural development.

See the text here:
Aquino, J. F., & Burns, G. L. (2021). Creative Tourism: The Path to a Resilient Rural Icelandic Community. In Creative Tourism in Smaller Communities: Place, Culture, and Local Representation. Calgary: University of Calgary Press. Retrieved from