Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

HELCOM MPAs and Natura 2000 Areas

Fäliskäret located in the Quark in Finland. Photo: Metsähallitus NHS

The Natura 2000 network is based on the Birds Directive adopted in 1979 (and amended in 2009; Directive 2009/147/EC) and the Habitats Directive adopted in 1992 (Directive 92/43/EEC). These directives provide legal protection to the sites. By 2013, 64% of Natura 2000 sites in the Baltic Sea had also been designated as HELCOM MPAs*.

Overlapping HELCOM MPAs and Natura 2000 sites can be of different shape and size depending on the protection targets. HELCOM MPAs are restricted to the coastal zone and marine area, while Natura 2000 areas may also cover inland areas. The Natura 2000 network protects natural habitats and species deemed important at EU level, whereas the HELCOM MPAs network aims to protect marine and coastal habitats and species specific for the Baltic Sea.

Read more about the Natura 2000 sites on the Natura 2000 webpage.​

HELCOM MPAs and Natura 2000 areas in the Baltic Sea. MPA data is from August 2017 and Natura 2000 data is from December 2011. Click map to enlarge.

* former BSPAs