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Location Norway, Finnmark
Central coordinates 29o 52.00' East  70o 12.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A3, A4i, A4iii, B1i
Area 60,000 ha
Altitude 0 - 20m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

Norsk Ornitologisk Forening

Site description The site is an Arctic shoreline, and includes a relatively small proportion of shallow sea offshore. A main road runs along the coast, and two towns, Vadsø and Vardø, lie in the area. Important localities within the IBA are (1) Nesseby (treated as subsite NO003-1 in the previous pan-European IBA inventory of Grimmett and Jones 1989; 70°10'N 28°50'E; 74 ha), (2) Vadsøy and Vadsøysundet (former subsite NO003-2; 70°05'N 29°45'E; 120 ha), (3) Ekkerøy (former subsite NO003-3; 70°05'N 30°10'E; 160 ha), and (4) Skjåholmen (71°20'N 28°45'E; 1,500 ha). Nesseby is a broad tidal bay with shallow water. `Vadsøy and Vadsøysundet' consist of the eastern part of Vadsøy island and the bay (with extensive intertidal flats and shallow subtidal water) between the island and the mainland. Ekkerøy comprises the southern and eastern half of the Store Ekkerøy peninsula, just east of Vadsø, and includes steep 50 m high cliffs. On the north side of the peninsula, the peaty ground slopes less steeply towards the sea and is covered in heathland. There is some sheep-grazing and collecting of gulls' eggs on the peninsula. Skjåholmen is a small island in the innermost part of the Varangerfjord. It is c.3 km long and 500-600 m wide, and is surrounded by sandy beaches and large expanses of shallow water. Skjåholmen is used for hunting, recreation, egg-collection and reindeer-herding.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Steller's Eider Polysticta stelleri winter  10,000-112,000 individuals  A1, A4i, B1i  Vulnerable 
Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus passage  1998  60 individuals  A1  Vulnerable 
Greater Scaup Aythya marila unknown  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Common Eider Somateria mollissima winter  1989  5,000-6,000 individuals  B1i  Least Concern 
King Eider Somateria spectabilis winter  1,500-7,500 individuals  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Gyr Falcon Falco rusticolus resident  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Rough-legged Hawk Buteo lagopus breeding  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica breeding  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Little Stint Calidris minuta breeding  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii breeding  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima winter  1989  1,000 individuals  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus breeding  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus breeding  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Carduelis hornemanni breeding  present [units unknown]  A3  Not Recognised 
Lapland Longspur Calcarius lapponicus breeding  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis breeding  present [units unknown]  A3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  unknown  A4iii   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  1996  unknown  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Bigganjarga Natural Monument 1 unknown 0  
Bugøynes Botanical Protection of Species 0 unknown 0  
Ekkerøya Nature Reserve 165 protected area contained by site 165  
Nesseby Nature Reserve 75 unknown 0  
Storelvosen Nature Reserve 23 unknown 0  
Varangerbotn Nature Reserve 118 unknown 0  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Heathland  -
Sea Sea inlets and coastal features  -
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores; Shingle & stony beaches  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
urban/industrial/transport -
agriculture -
tourism/recreation -

Protection status National Low International None160 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Ekkerøya, 160 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Varangerfjord. Downloaded from on 20/04/2014

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