Longer opening hours during the local festival

During the local festival the Icelandic Seal Center will be open 10:00 – 22:00 from Wednesday 26. till Saturday 30. July. Happy hour from 18-20.

Come learn about the seal and the walrus, buy nice items in our store, some on special festival offer, enjoy a good cup of coffee/hot chocolate or try something different at our bar.

Every purchase is a valuable support for us.

The Great Seal Count

Further information

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

Sunday, July 30. at 11.00, 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 11:00 is the delivery of data, presentation, and training at the Seal Center. Coffee and refreshments are available for participants.

At 12.00-16.00, the seal count takes place, during the low tide.
When you are finished, return the data you have collected to the Seal Center. Coffee and refreshments while we wait for the final number of seals in the area.

Please register at selasetur@selasetur.is

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

Concert at the Icelandic Seal Center

Next Wednesday, 19th of July, aac will perform at the Icelandic Seal Center. Join us an eclectic meeting of transplanted musicians hailing from Scotland, Iceland and Mexico. Improvising through textures and rhythms, their music will warp perception and expand the ear.

The concert will start at 20:00 and be around 40 min. and tickets will cost 2.000 kr. Light refreshments can be bought at the bar.

2nd Icelandic Seal Center symposium

The 2nd Icelandic Seal Center Symposium will be held this Friday, 19. May, from 16:00-20:30 at the Seal Center.

This year we will focus on nature research with 11 different lectures. After the lectures there will be some light refreshments and Happy Hour at the Center.

For more details see the schedule below.

Changes in the Icelandic harbour seal population over a 40 year period

The picture was taken during the aerial census of 2020 (Sandra Granquist)

A new paper about trends in the Icelandic harbour seal population was recently published. The title of the paper is “The Icelandic harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) population: trends over 40 years (1980–2020) and current threats to the population”. Sandra Granquist, Head of Seal research department and senior reseacher at the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute of Iceland is the author of the paper. Below is a summary of the paper (abstract) and a link to the paper.


Regular harbour seal (Phoca vitulina) population censuses are necessary to monitor fluctuations in the population size and to inform seal management. In this paper, the status of the Icelandic harbour seal population is presented, along with trends in the population over a 40-year period. In total, 13 full aerial censuses were carried out during the moulting season (July-August) between 1980 and 2020. The most recent census from 2020 yielded an estimate of 10,319 (CI 95%= 6,733-13,906) animals, indicating that the population is 69.04% smaller than when systematic monitoring of the population commenced in 1980 (33,327 seals). The observed decrease puts the population on the national red list for threatened populations. Trend analyses indicate that most of the decline occurred during the first decade, when the population decreased about 50% concurrently with large human-induced removals of harbour seals. After that point, the population decline slowed down but continued, and currently the population seems to fluctuate around a stable minimum level. The sensitive conservation status of the population underlines the need to assess and sustainably manage current threats to the population, including human-induced removals, anthropogenic disturbance, and various environmental factors such as contaminants, climate change and fluctuation in prey availability. Furthermore, it is urgent to continue regular censuses and to increase monitoring of population demographic factors.

Click here to go to the full text