Harbour Seal Haul-out Site Selection

Harbour seals use specific shoreline areas on a regular basis to haul-out of the water and rest. These locations are called seal haul-out sites and include: beaches, rocky skerries (tiny islands), sand dunes and river mouth deltas. Some haul-out sites are used regularly, while others may be used seasonally or occasionally. Time spent on the haul-out site is essential for the seals as they rest, dry out, interact and regulate body their temperature. In addition to this, harbour seals give birth to and nurse their pups on the haul-out sites, and undergo an essential annual moult of their pelage (more commonly called fur).

This project focuses on the haul-out location selection of harbour seals around the Vatnsnes peninsula to ascertain the various factors and patterns involved.

The project is focused on 6 distinct areas around the peninsula known for their usage by seals as haul-out sites, these areas are:

  • Svalbarð* – Skerry haul-out site
  • Stapar – Skerry haul-out site
  • Illugastaðir* – Skery haul-out site
  • Hindísvík – Skerry haul-out site
  • Krossanes – Skerry haul-out site
  • Ósar/Hvítserkur* – River mouth delta / sand beach haul-out site

*haul-out sites with public access