Moffen nature reserve

Moffen north of Spitsbergen lie within the Nordvest-Spitsbergen national park, and consists of sand and gravel without solid bedrock. The island is only about 2x3 kilometres and only break the sea surface by a couple of metres. From the air it has the shape of a mussels. The island is probably the most important resting spot for the walrus in Svalbard, and is protected as a nature reserve.

A walrus colony on Moffen with the research vessel Lance in the background

A walrus colony on Moffen with the research vessel «Lance» in the background. Photo: Bertran Kiil, Norwegian Polar Institute

Up to 1952 the walrus in Svalbard suffered from overexploitation due to the ivory in their big tusks, as well as their thick skin and blubber. When the walrus was finally protected it was almost extinct. The governing after the conservation has had a big success, and the population of walrus in Svalbard now counts at least 2000 individuals and is growing. On Moffen several hundred of them can be found at the same time, providing quite the sight for sightseers.

Both the common eider and the Arctic tern breed on the island, as well as the Sabine's gull and the Brent goose.

Travel on the island and a zone of 300 metres of the surrounding waters is prohibited in the period between 15th of May and 15th of September.