June 10, 2023


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Shops sell seagull eggs from red-listed bird species – NRK Nordland

Mag beer and seagull eggs are a well-known term in northern Norway.

Collecting seagull eggs was once an important part of the diet of coastal people. It is no longer particularly important, but the tradition is still maintained.

These days, shops all over northern Norway advertise eggs. In Bodø, stores like Coop Mega and Bofisk posted on Facebook.

But not everyone is equally excited that the tradition lives on.

– We have come out clearly and said that we do not want to take, sell or buy seagull eggs, says Martin Eggen.

He is a lofotwring and nature conservation consultant at BirdLife Norway.

The protest is about that Eggs are sold The gray bull has suffered a major decline over the years.

– All harvesting should have been stopped by Norway’s Environment Agency, says Martin Eggen, a nature conservation consultant for the bird species.


Red list

We have five of the seven nesting bull species on mainland Norway Red list.

Only two species described as viable are the Herring Gull and the Black Tern.

But it has decreased significantly Blackback populations on the coast of Troms and Finnmark, acc Species Data Bank. Finland and Sweden stocks also suffered significant declines.

Last year there were new, stricter rules regarding the collection of seagull eggs. Now only one egg per nest is allowed.

Seagull eggs at Arna station

Some seagull eggs are still allowed to be collected. But only one egg per nest per season.

Photo: Ulrik Velsvik / NRK

Eggs of gray gulls and black-backed gulls can be collected throughout the country until May 10 – or May 25 – in northern Norway.

Herring eggs can be collected throughout southern Norway until May 10.

Therefore, even though it is a red listed species and designated as Vulnerable, gray jay eggs are allowed to be taken. Species Data Bank. That means it is an endangered species.

– When the gray gull has become an endangered species in Norway, we must take the red list status seriously and stop collecting gull eggs. Nature management is essentialEggen says.

– Hard to see the difference

What usually happens when the eggs are removed from the nest is that the seagull lays new eggs. It’s not uncomplicated, he believes.

– Laying fresh eggs all the time has its price. It needs energy. These are not laying hens that receive concentrates. Seagulls are already struggling with food shortages and population declines. Therefore, they should be left alone during the breeding season.

One of the challenges, according to Eggen, is that it’s hard to tell the difference between sponge eggs. He also believes that not everyone is amenable to the new rules.

Companies that care about marketing themselves as sustainable can’t be known to be selling eggs from endangered species.

gray bird

GRAY GULL: Seabirds are struggling around the world. Food scarcity, linked to climate change and overfishing, is thought to be the most important cause.

Photo: Knut-Sverre Horn

There aren’t enough of them The rules governing collection are in accordance with regulations that state that only one egg per nest should be taken per season.

When the grebe and herring gull entered the red list, egg collection from the species ceased. It is only natural that we now stop collecting eggs from gray bulls.

– Black back only

Bofisk, a fish shop in Bodo, sells seagull eggs. says managing director Harald Lorentzen Eating seagull eggs has a long tradition in northern Norway.

Seagulls and humans have always interacted. Traditionally, we feed seagulls with fish waste and collect their eggs.

Nevertheless, the fishmonger experienced some negative feedback when they announced on Facebook that they were selling seagull eggs.

Bofisk's Facebook post promoting seagull eggs.

Eating seagull eggs is a long-standing tradition in northern Norway, says Bofisk general manager Harald Lorentsson. – Eggs are eaten hard-boiled and should be boiled for 15-18 minutes. Cut in half and eat as is or in a piece of bread, he says.

Photo: Screenshot 13/05/2023

But he assures that Bofisk only sells the eggs of black terns, also known as great sponges.

Can’t be wrong. The terns spawn at different times, and only the black-backed tern spawns in early May.

According to Martin Eggen in Birdlife, that’s not true.

For most people, it is difficult to distinguish the eggs from black-backed and gray-backed bulls, and this is not common during plucking. Gray gulls and black-backed terns breed in mixed colonies, and their eggs are called “great heron eggs,” as well as the collective term “great heron” for both species, Eggen says.

Svartbakken took off in strong winds on May 2, 2010 at Bø in Vesterlen.

The black-backed gull is the largest species breeding in Norway, and we have 24 percent of the total world population.

Photo: Bjørnar Hansen

The Coop at Ronwiga in Bodo also offers Mega Seagull eggs.

Coop Norge insists they are busy Having good partners. And they demand that laws and regulations be followed in all contexts.

Coop likes to keep local food traditions alive, and Knut Ludness says there are long traditions behind picking and eating seagull eggs. Liaison and liaison with cooperative authorities.

Seagull says egg sales are very low. So far this year a total of 40 eggs have been purchased for the two stores in Nordland.

Flying gray bird

– There is no egg collection for this species to be on the red list, says Tyco Anger-Nilsen, senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Natural Sciences. Here is a gray bird.

Photo: Knut Dreiås

Does Coop think selling seagull eggs is ethically correct?

Questions about seagull population management should be directed to environmental officials.

In recent times, not everyone has been careful

Tyco Anger-Nilsen, a senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Natural Sciences (Nina), is not skeptical of the seagull egg collection:

– Taking eggs from a nest is not a big problem. These species are not egg collectors to be on the red list, he says.

However, he is still concerned that people will have to follow the new rules.

    Researcher Tyco Unger-Nilsen

– I can’t see a problem if the eggs are collected in accordance with current laws and regulations, says researcher Tycho Anker-Nilssen.

Photo: Kari Schei / NRK

Like Egan, he doubts that everyone will be able to adhere to them:

It’s because the attitude and knowledge of collectors today has changed, he believes.

In the past, collectors were often better at knowing which eggs to pick and when.

– They held them to the light or verified How they flew to find out if they stayed nurturedHe explains.

But in recent times, not everyone is careful, and more eggs are being taken from the nests. Anger-Nielsen also believes that some collectors take eggs too late in the season after hatching, without checking them before going home.

– It’s the wrong way to do it, so it’s now made clear in the law.

But it’s not the store’s job to ensure compliance with the law, the researcher believes.

Seagull eggs hatch

Spring and summer are vulnerable times for seagulls across the country. Here is a seagull egg about to hatch.

Photo: Jørn Nordli / NRK

– To draw a parallel: If you think that an aquarium is not sustainable, I will not go to the store and blame the problem. The same applies here.

– If they are collected according to the law, there is no problem with it being traded, Anger-Nilsen believes.

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