Strange behaviour: herring in Icelandic harbours

herringHerring have been found in great numbers in and around Hafnarfjordur Harbour in recent weeks. The herring seem to be swimming in and out of the harbour on a whim and seafarers report the fish seem to be schooling in greater numbers inside the harbour than outside. reports that a great number of seagulls, cormorants and other sea birds are following the herring and are the best indicator of the fishes’ current location in the harbour.

Whales are also following the herring, and are even occasionally venturing into the harbour itself, although they mostly stay outside – especially largest species of whales.

The Port of Hafnarfjordur website reports stories of a bird that was so well-fed that it had serious difficulty in flying after eating its fill of herring.

The herring is not considered to be dangerous, as the tides in and out keep the harbour water clean. This is not the first case of herring in harbours this year: the Westman Islanders were recently able to catch a large number of herring in their harbour as well. It is not known why the herring are choosing to enter harbours this year, but there is speculation that something may be wrong with them and that they might be seeking out the less salty harbour waters for some sort of relief.

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