The Great Seal Count

Further information

Volunteers needed for The Great Seal Count
Come join us for our annual Great Seal Count at the Icelandic Seal Center. We need volunteers to count seals along the coastline of Húnaþing vestra.

The weekend 27. – 28. July 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 a tourist travelling around the country. Participation gives people the opportunity to see harbor seals in their natural environment.

Please register before 18:00, Friday 26. July by sending an email to


Saturday 27. July 17:00 – 18:00 is the delivery of data, presentation and training at the Icelandic Seal Center.

Sunday 28. July 08.00-12.00 the seal count takes place, during the low tide.
When you are finished, return the data you have collected to the Icelandic Seal Center. Coffee and refreshments while we wait for the final number of seals in the area. Small gift for the volunteers.

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 all the seals you can see, whether they are on land or at sea, also write down the time!

KEEP IN MIND that 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 the 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. 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.

Counting consists of counting seals in Vatnsnes and Heggstaðanes, but the area will be divided into many different areas (about 2-7 km 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.

Info Here is a link to general information about the seal count from 2007-2021 on Wikipedia. https://Selatalningin_mikla

The 3rd Icelandic Seal Center symposium

On the 17th of May The Icelandic Seal Center will hold it´s third symposium on nature research. Many interesting presentation on various topics.

The symposium will be held at The Icelandic Seal Center Strandgötu 1 and is open for everyone to attend and is free.

New Intern

Please welcome Colin, who is currently doing an internship at the Icelandic Seal Center in collaboration with the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute and is supervised by Dr. Sandra Granquist. Colin is a third-year undergraduate student in environmental science and terrestrial resource management at the University of Washington, Seattle. He is interested in climate modeling and researching the impact of climate change on marine ecosystems. Throughout his internship at the Icelandic Seal Center, Colin will analyze the potential changes in habour seal haul-out patterns and site conditions under climate change projections (CMIP6 projections), as well as regularly assist in fieldwork and seal surveys. His aim of the research study is to guide conservation actions to ensure sustainable management of harbour seal populations in Iceland amid the ever-changing climate.

Illugastaðir is now closed during the nesting period

Seal watching spot Illugastaðir is now closed from 6. May till 20. of June because of the eiders nesting period. Please respect nature and this closing.

However there is no need to worry since Hvítserkur is still open. It is one of the biggest sealcolonies in Iceland. Take the path that goes straight to the beach. Seals are also often visible from the Vatnsnes-road specially during the low tide. Check out places where the road is close to the beach, like Hamarsrétt. For further information you can visit us at the Icelandic Seal Center in Hvammstangi.