Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Baltic-wide seabird monitoring shaping up

Knowledge on seabird populations, distribution and mobility on a regional scale will improve, as work on a metadatabase as well as joint seabird monitoring guidelines is moving forward in an starting today in Jurmala, Latvia. Countries along the Baltic Sea have monitored seabirds for decades, but as the resulting data has been stored in different institutes and databases, it has been challenging to assess and act on the regionally important questions, e.g. what the number of seabirds in a certain area can tell us about the health of the Baltic Sea marine environment. The new guidelines will establish same methods for all Baltic countries on seabird monitoring. Photo: Jannica Haldin. The meeting will also discuss the finalization of the region-wide bird HELCOM that are to be based on the joint coordinated monitoring.  Thirdly, as seabirds regularly migrate between the regions, cooperation is called for to support both scientific and managerial work with other regions. The meeting will explore possibilities of HELCOM joining forces with the joint bird group of the Commission and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea ().  The seabird metadatabase includes detailed information on all water bird surveys in the Baltic Sea since 1991. The HELCOM BALSAM project, co-financed by the EU, has developed the metadatabase and is now finalizing specific guidelines on how to monitor seabirds using the same methods in all Baltic Sea countries. The meeting will be chaired by Mr. Ainars Aunins, Latvian Fund for Nature and attended by experts from HELCOM countries.                                                  * * * Note for editors project – Testing new concepts for integrated environmental monitoring of the Baltic Sea (2013-15) – strengthens the capacity of the Baltic Sea states to develop their environmental monitoring programmes, including compatibility of data from different monitoring schemes. The project especially focuses on monitoring of seals and seabirds, non-indigenous species, benthic habitats and coordinated use of research vessels as well as improving data management and infrastructure. The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organization of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union working to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation in the region. Since 1974, HELCOM has been the governing body of the ‘Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area’, more commonly known as the Helsinki Convention * * * For more information, please contactJohanna Karhu Project Coordinator, BALSAM HELCOM Tel: +358 40 661 9040 Skype: helcom63 E-mail: johanna.karhu@helcom.f Johanna Laurila Information Secretary HELCOM Tel: +358 40 523 8988 Skype: helcom70 E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.f 

Knowledge on seabird populations, distribution and mobility will improve, as work on a metadatabase and joint seabird monitoring guidelines moves ahead.