A very large area of coastal waters off western Iceland, containing thousands of islands and islets. The bay is rather shallow and there are extensive intertidal areas adjoining the heavily indented coastline. Habitat also includes marshes and grassland on some of the islands. Land-uses include seaweed-harvesting, exploitation of seals (Phocidae), eider husbandry (Somateria mollissima), traditional harvesting of eggs of Rissa tridactyla, Sterna paradisaea and Larus marinus, chicks of Phalacrocorax aristotelis and P. carbo, and adults of Fratercula arctica, and net-fishing for lumpfish Cyclopterus lumpus.
The site supports huge numbers of breeding seabirds; Fulmarus glacialis is common but does not meet criteria.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Predation by introduced American mink Mustela vison and net-fishing for lumpfish both pose threats. Human activities such as tourism, hunt-ing, seaweed-harvesting and eider husbandry (Somateria mollissima) cause disturbance to birds. Gilsfjördur was formerly a mudflat but this was ruined by road-construction (it is now a brackish lagoon), and further road-building in other firths is a threat. A management plan is being developed and is expected to be completed in 1998.
National High International None100 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Flatey, 100 ha). 40 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Hrisey, 40 ha). 9 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Melrakkaey, 9 ha). 20,000 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Landscape) (Vatnsfjördur, 20,000 ha). 300,000 ha of IBA covered by Conservation Area (Breidafjördur, 300,000 ha).
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Breidafjördur. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 28/09/2020.