Fish from the Baltic region gather today in Copenhagen to finalize the HELCOM core indicators on , expecting release in June 2015, and to plan for the next concerned thematic assessment, among others. The coastal fish communities are an important component of the Baltic Sea ecosystems and serve as an indicator of coastal ecosystem health at large.Targeted monitoring of coastal fish has been coordinated by the HELCOM FISH-PRO network since 2003. Photo: Dasvid Andersson. There have been substantial changes in the coastal fish communities over the late 20th century, calling for an increased focus as many species of coastal fish are also of a high socio-economic value for coastal societies, small scale coastal fisheries and recreational fishing. Targeted monitoring of coastal fish has been coordinated by the HELCOM FISH-PRO network since 2003. Regular monitoring, conducted annually in the region from the mid-1980s onwards, is essential for determining the potential effects of human activities on coastal fish communities. In the 3-day meeting the FISH-PRO group is also discussing the preparations for the next indicator-based thematic assessment of coastal fish status, to be published in 2018. The report will, among others, review the work done since the last similar assessment from 2012 () and also contribute to the large HELCOM holistic assessment currently under works. Moreover, potential use of alternative data sources, such as commercial catch statistics, will be reviewed in the meeting, for supporting indicator development, status assessments as well as for filling the gaps in current monitoring. The Meeting of the Continuation of the project on Baltic-wide assessment of coastal fish communities in support of an ecosystem-based management (FISH-PRO II 2-2015) will be chaired by Mr. Jens Olsson from Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources (SLU-Aqua).. All documents will be public after the meeting. * * * Note for editors: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 contact:Petra Kääriä Assistant Professional Secretary HELCOM Tel: +358 40 630 9933 Skype: helcom68 E-mail: petra.kaaria(at)helcom.fi Johanna Laurila Information SecretaryHELCOM Tel: +358 40 523 8988 Skype: helcom70 E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.fi
Fish experts from the Baltic region gather today in Copenhagen to finalize core indicators and to plan for the next concerned thematic assessment.