Eider Strategy and Action Plan, click to download

Eiders are sea ducks that breed, molt, and winter largely in Arctic regions. Four species of eiders occur throughout the Arctic and have provided meat, eggs, and down for local residents for centuries.

Eiders are a circumpolar resource. Most Arctic countries have at least two of the four species during parts or all of the year, and each of the species travels through at least two Arctic countries during its annual cucle. An international approach is needed in managing  eiders since actions in one country affect the ability of other countries to manage eiders.

The goal of the Circumpolar Eider Conservation Strategy and Action Plan is to facilitate circumpolar efforts to conserve, protect and restore eider populations.


Status and Trend

Many eider populations have declined in recent decades, though a few are stable or increasing and some trends are uncertain. Some populations are thought to have declined by 50% or more since the early 1990s. 


 Photo: Wild Arctic Pictures/shutterstock.com

Common eiders

  • Common eiders in North America have probably declined by about 50% since 1970 though the population may now be stable or increasing.
  • Some formerly large colonies in western Greenland have almost disappeared, but quantitative information is too scarce to estimate an overall decline.
  • The Common eiders populations in Russia are believed to be stable or decreasing.
  • In the Baltic area, south of the Arctic, common eiders expanded rapidly during 1959-1985, but since 1985 the populations have been stable or declining.

 Photo: Andre Anita/shutterstock.com


King eiders

  • The King eiders in North America have declined by about 75% since 1960.
  • Trends for King eiders in Russia are unknown.
Photo: USFWS   

Spectacled eiders

  • Spectacled eiders have declined by 95% in western Alaska in the past three decades. Trends for the Northern Slope of Alaska are unknown.
  • The species is thought to have declined in Russia though documentation is lacking.
 Photo: Andre Anita/shutterstock.com

StellerR17;s eiders

  • StellerR17;s eider has been extirpated as a breeding species in western Alaska but continues to breed sporadically in small numbers near Barrow and perhaps elsewhere in the Arctic coastal Plain.
  • Population trends in Russia are unknown.


Management Issues and Actions

1. Ensure that consumptive use of eiders is sustainable

  • develop international cooperative plans for harvesting populations that breed and winter in different countries
  • establish appropriate harvest rules by area and season, coordinate among jurisdictions, consistent with population size goals, adult survival rates and productivity
  • obtain reliable estimates of harvest levels by area, species, breeding location, age,sex and time of year
  • evaluate the opportunity for guided eider hunts as a means to support economies in local communities
  • support the development of sustainable egg and down collection programs and an international exchange of information about these activities

2. Encourage non-consumptive uses of eiders that will benefit the economies of local communities

  • evaluate risjs to breeding molting or wintering eiders from tourism or other human activities
  • encourage non-comsumptive use of eiders by photographers, bird watchers and others

3. Minimize adverse effects of commercial activities on eiders

  • collaborate with other Arctic Council programs such as AMAP and PAME to identify seasonal concentrations of eiders and important habitats in realtion to oil transport lanes and other high risk oil spill areas and ensure that this information is properly used in
    • environmental imjpact assessments of oil activities
    • oil spill sensitivity mapping
    • oil spill contingency planning
    • oil spill response plans
  • evaluate and reduce mortality of eiders caused by commercial fishing activities 

4. Protect key habitats to ensure the continued viability of eider populations that depend on them

  • prepare a summary of protected areas containing important eider habitats indicatibng the species affected and the importance of protection
  • evaluate the CPAN project and other mechanisms for protecting the habitat of each eider species
  • identify important eider areas still needing protection and designate them under national and international systems of protected areas
  • identify and oimplement any additional protective mechanisms such as treaties, agreement, regulations, and policies needed to protected eider habitats

5. Ensure proper coordination with existing programs that affect eiders, and encourage an interest in eider conservation and awareness of the Strategy and participation in its implementation

  • support other international and national eider conservation initiatives such as BirdLife International's Steller's Eider Action Plan, the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and the United States Spectacled Eider Recovery Plan
  • review existing programs and plans that affect eiders to assure proper coordination as polans are made for implementing the Strategy
  • enlist the support of people and grops that use or are interested in eiders, especially local residents with traditional ecological knowledge
  • solicit evaluations of action carries our under the Strategy by specialists in eider biologu and other relevant disciplines
  • prepare periodic reports summarizing the status of eider populations and accomplishments in eider conservation
  • ensure that eider conservation projects include and educational component 

6. Provide reliable information about eiders needed to implement the Strategy

  • develop comprehensive research agendas for each species and population specifying what information is most needed, how it will be used and which countries will be involved in doing the work
  • for each major eider breeding population, estimate population size, productivity, and adult survival rates, and identify migration routes and wintering locations
  • collaborate with AMAP to study lead and other contaminantes that may be causing mortality of eiders and seek ways to reduce their adverse impacts
  • develop international and national monitoring plans for eiders


Protection Status

  • Steller's eiders have been listed as a globally threatened species and as a Red Data book species in Russia
  • Spectacled eiders have been listed as a threatened species in the United States of America and hunting has been banned or curtailed in many other areas
  • Management strategies for eiders include regulations affecting hunting and down collection, with hunting regulations being the most common form.


Implementation guidelines

Setting priorities

  • Identify which actions are already being addressed, which actions deserve highest priority for new work, and which of these high-priority actions require international collaboration
  • Give high priority to actions likely to reveal the causes of eider declines or to reverse such declines
  • Among new work to be initiated under the Strategy, give high priority to helping establish international, national or regional eider monitoring programs


  • Each country should prepare a R20;National Implementation PlanR21; for the Strategy, giving special attention to international collaboration
  • Ensure the regional and local governments participate in developing the National Implementation Plan
  • Enlist the participation of local residents and technical specialists at an early stage in deciding how to implement the Strategy


  • Provide appropriate opportunities for communication between those involved in carrying out the Strategy
  • Report annually to CAFF summarizing actions taken or planned under the Strategy


Arctic States

dk   ca   fi   is   no   ru   sw   usa

Permanent Participants

aac  raipon  icc   GCI Logo Vertical RGB 121x90  aia  saami_councile