The Preservation of Surtsey
Owing to the scientific research projects
that are carried out on Surtsey, the island was declared a nature reserve
in 1965 by the Environment and Food Agency. This declaration of preservation
was renewed in 1974 with reference to new nature conservation legislation.
The decleration was yet renewed in January 2006.
renewed declaration covers now the entire volcano, whether above
the surface of the sea or underwater, including the craters of Jólnir,
Syrtlingur and Surtla, together with a specified area of ocean around
the island (map). The objective
of declaring Surtsey a protected area is to ensure that development
of the island will be in keeping with the principles of nature itself.
The purpose of conservation is to ensure that colonisation by plants
and animals, biotic succession and the shaping of geological formations
will be as natural as possible, and that human disruption will be minimised.
The following rules apply in the Surtsey
Nature Reserve (map):
1. It is prohibited to visit Surtsey without
a permit from the Surtsey Research Society, which manages all scientific
research conducted on the island. The Environment and Food Agency has
authorized the Society to supervise all activity on Surtsey.
2. It is prohibited to disturb anything
on Surtsey. In order to build permanent facilities there, a permit from
the Environment and Food Agency is required.
3. It is prohibited to transfer living
animals, plants, seeds, or plant parts to the island.
4. It is prohibited to leave any form
of waste on or near the island.
5. All use of firearms is prohibited within
a distance of 2 km from the island.
Information on sanctions for violation
of these rules can be found in the Nature
Conversation Act (in Icelandic).