Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

 

Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

On the way to healthy status: new HELCOM indicators launched

​Abundance of Indicators on coastal and migratory fish are the first of 19 new HELCOM  launched this fall, as a result of careful preparations by HELCOM experts. For each core indicator the environmental status is evaluated against a quantitative boundary that defines Good Environmental Status (GES). Defining GES through core indicators provides an important tool for assessing the status as well as guiding management towards a healthy Baltic Sea.Judging by the new coastal fish indicators, approximately half of the assessed coastal areas of the Baltic Sea are in good environmental status.  Since populations of coastal fish species are rather stationary, they have good potential in reflecting the general environmental state of the assessment unit. Coastal fish are doing better in the northern and eastern parts of the Baltic Sea, where perch is a key species while in the west an​​d south, where flounder is a key species, the environmental status is poorer.  The entire Baltic Sea from north to south is roamed by adult salmon feeding in the open sea. The abundance of salmon smolt and spawning adults in rivers flowing into the Bothnian Bay is at a level reflecting good environmental status, while in other areas the numbers are clearly below the aspired level. Capture of both young salmon and sea trout as by-catch in fisheries as well as migration barriers in rivers continue to be two of the reasons for GES not being achieved in some areas.  Good Environmental Status (GES) is a key concept in HELCOM Baltic Sea Action , which have set the objectives and actions for reaching GES for the entire Baltic Sea by 2021. The Baltic Sea is in GES when the sea is ecologically diverse, the waters are clean, and the use of the sea is sustainable. Fish are an integral part of the marine ecosystem and maintaining healthy fish communities is thus a key concern in environment protection.   Fast facts – coastal fishFor coastal fish key species, GES is achieved in 2/3 (16 out of the 24) coastal HELCOM assessment units that were evaluated.Piscivores – fish feeding on other fish – indicate GES in a majority of the evaluated coastal assessment unit areas.Cyprinids – fish feeding on smaller animals – indicate GES in half of the evaluated coastal assessment unit areas.Coastal fish communities have significant socio-economic and ecological importance in the Baltic Sea, both for ecosystem functioning and for the recreational and small-scale coastal commercial fishery. Long-term changes in the abundance of coastal fish species are mainly caused by the effects of increased water temperature and eutrophication and also due to human exploitation.  Fast facts – migratory fish​ Salmon is a long-distance migrating big predatory fish species in the Baltic Sea marine ecosystem.The number of juvenile salmon – or smolt – has increased in the Bothnian Bay and Quark area. In the Bothnian Sea as well as Gulf of Finland, the young salmon production is showing slight increase but is still low. On the other hand, the weak smolt production in rivers flowing into the Baltic Proper are not showing any signs of improvement.Sea trout populations indicate a sub-GES state in most of the Baltic Sea coastal areas, with a good environmental state only being indicated in the south-western parts. The current evaluation shows that the status reflected by populations of sea trout is sub-GES in most Baltic Sea coastal areas.>>   * *Note for editorsThe 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:>Ulla Li Zweifel> Professional Secretary> HELCOM> Tel. +358 46 850 9198> Skype: helcom64> E-mail: ullali.zweifel(at)helcom.fi>>>Johanna Laurila> Information Secretary> HELCOM> Tel: +358 40 523 8988> Skype: helcom70> E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.fi

Indicators on coastal and migratory fish are the first of 19 new HELCOM core indicators launched this fall, as a result of careful preparations by HELCOM experts.

Regional work on Baltic Sea protection sharpens up

The Regional action plan for marine and the Recommendation
on the conservation of in the Baltic Sea are both expecting
adoption this week as the highest body of HELCOM, the Annual Meeting, convenes
in Helsinki, Finland. The delegates of the Contracting Parties of the Helsinki
Convention, representing the nine coastal Baltic countries as well as the EU,
will also address the on effective regional work between HELCOM and the
EU Strategy of the Baltic Sea Region, as the revision of the Action Plan of the
Strategy is about to be finalized soon.

 op-10 items found in the Baltic Sea as well as micro-plastics have special measures reserved in the marine litter action plan. Photo: Bo Eide/Flickr.

Marine litter is a growing concern globally as well as regionally, and the HELCOM Recommendation on Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter is the first comprehensive approach to the problem in the Baltic Sea region. The HELCOM commitment from 2013 is to achieve a significant quantitative reduction of marine litter by 2025, compared to 2015.  The plan integrates the actions required at regional level as well as the national actions by countries according to their needs. Special measures are addressed to the top-10 items found in the Baltic Sea as well micro-plastics. The document also highlights the importance of environmental education and recommends coordinated monitoring programmes for the common marine litter indicators. The Marine litter action plan, to be successfully implemented, will require the countries’ leadership for specific actions as well as wide involvement of stakeholders in the region. Close cooperation with other Regional Seas Conventions, and the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, has also been brought up as a way to realize a wide ranging measures. Moreover, adequate protection for the will take shape after the expected adoption of the new HELCOM Recommendation. The new Recommendation follows up on the critical situation of many Baltic Sea species as concluded in the 2013 HELCOM Red List of Baltic Sea in danger of becoming extinct (). Preparation of a Recommendation on the Conservation of is expected to begin shortly. The Annual Meeting, held on 3-4 March, will also follow up on the recent to institutionalize the cooperation under HELCOM policies and the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, for better defining the complementarity of the roles and specific tasks. As both in HELCOM and under EUSBSR there are shared action areas, more systematic cooperation will save resources and add to the efficiency in reaching the mutual goals. Other key topics under negotiations:-          Finalization of the HELCOM Recommendation on sustainable aquaculture. Substituting the existing HELCOM Recommendation (25/4) aims to limit potential environmental impacts of aquaculture activities such as the introduction of non-indigenous species, ecological and genetic impacts on wild fish stocks from unintended releases of farmed species, nutrient pollution, as well as introduction of antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals. Aquaculture, including fish farming, is a growing food production industry that continues to have large potential for green technologies and environmentally friendly production methods, both in marine and fresh waters.-          Adoption of the Revised HELCOM Guidelines for Management of Dredged Material at Sea.-          Adopting the revised HELCOM Recommendation 25/7 on safety of winter navigation in the Baltic Sea Area, including a new harmonization of approximate correspondence of ice classes-          Adopting the revised HELCOM Recommendation 34E/4 “Airborne surveillance with remote sensing equipment in the Baltic Sea area”-          Finalization of a work plan to improve regional coherence, in the implementation of different marine policies to reach Good Environmental Status –          Cooperation with other Regional Seas Conventions and organizations – newest developments * * *Note for editorsThe 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:Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988Skype: helcom70E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.fi

Marine litter, Recommendation on threatened species and the revision of the EU Regional Strategy Action Plan and HELCOM are top items of the HELCOM Annual Meeting.

Solving the puzzle of many measures for a healthier Baltic

The many concrete measures and actions for reaching the good
environmental status for the Baltic Sea require determined and effective
regional coordination, again a key topic of HELCOM
group
starting today in Berlin, Germany. The 2-day session will continue to outline
regional coordination of Programme of Measures needed to achieve a healthy
Baltic Sea, as agreed in the HELCOM Baltic Sea as well as the
EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Maritime Doctrine of the Russian
Federation. HELCOM Gear group works towards
region-wide cooperation on all elements of national marine strategies. Photo: Ulf Bergström.Another agenda point is a plan for improving regional
coherence in implementation of marine policies. The HELCOM Plan, among others,
lays out issues on which further steps and activities on regional level are
needed in the short (2015/2016), mid- (2018), and long-term (beyond 2018), to
reach the goal of the good environmental status by 2021 he Gear group, formed of managers from environmental administration,
will also start planning for development of additional environmental targets
for pressures on the Baltic Sea environment. For each Baltic coastal country,
environmental targets for reducing nutrient inputs in the Baltic Sea have already
been agreed through the HELCOM nutrient reduction scheme. These targets form
the basis for development of measures to reduce nutrient input, and having common
targets for also other pressures would enable better coordinated mitigation
efforts. ne timely item in the meeting agenda are synergies with EU for the Baltic Sea
Region, as the new Action Plan for the Strategy is under development. HELCOM
seeks to institutionalize the shared scope of work, as this would save
resources and add to the efficiency in reaching the mutual goals he ninth Meeting of the Group for the Implementation of the
Ecosystem Approach (GEAR 9-2015) will be chaired by Chair of GEAR, Ms. Heike
Imhoff  . All the files will be public after the meeting * * *Note for editorsThe HELCOM Group for the Implementation of the Ecosystem
Approach Gear oversees
region-wide co-operation on marine strategies, covering both legal basis and
agreed measures. The group is the main instrument, for EU members, in
implementing the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, and within HELCOM, it
guards inter-group coherence in implementing the ecosystem approach 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:Ulla Li ZweifelProfessional SecretaryHELCOMTel. +358 46 850 9198Skype: helcom64E-mail: ullali.zweifel(at)helcom.f ohanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988Skype: helcom70E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.f 

The many concrete measures and actions for improving the status of the Baltic Sea require determined regional coordination, a key topic of Gear group meeting now starting in Berlin.

Holistic Baltic Sea assessment kick-started

​The hands-on work has now started for the holistic assessment on the ecosystem health of the entire Baltic Sea area, orchestrated by HELCOM for the second time, as the core team that will carry out the project in Helsinki, Finland. The sealed the agreement to prepare such an overarching assessment.  Updating assessment tools as well as pressure and impact indices are parts of the next comprehensive assessment of the Baltic Sea. Photo: Wiesława CielątkowskaAt large, the second holistic assessment will help evaluate progress towards reaching the goals and objectives of HELCOM Baltic Sea Action . It will also be used, for HELCOM countries that are EU member states, as a joint report in the 2018 assessment of the Baltic Sea that is required by the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Starting now will allow for sufficient time to prepare a high quality product for serving to the deadline. The report will follow up the first one from 2010 and as a part of the project, the common existing tools for assessing the pressures on and status of the environment will be updated. Moreover, social and economic analyses of the use of the Baltic Sea will be part of the assessment. Such comprehensive assessments of the Baltic Sea should be conducted ever six years to ensure up-to-date information and a solid basis for decisions on policies and measures. Furthermore, as stated in the HELCOM Monitoring and Assessment from 2013, the forthcoming assessment will build on indicators. At present, thirty HELCOM core indicators are close to finalization, most of them being indicators of the state of the environment. The development work is still ongoing and will further shape the work on the second holistic assessment.  * * * The Second holistic assessment on the ecosystem health of the Baltic Sea will:Update HELCOM assessment tools, most prominently for biodiversity, hazardous substances and the Baltic Sea Pressures and Impact indices.>Carry out the assessment based on the Drivers – Pressures – State – Impact – Response framework, by establishing a clear link between human activities and drivers behind them; pressures; impact on the state of the environment as well as on society; and response in terms of measures taken to strive for the good environmental status. Work towards operational assessments, aiming at HELCOM assessments being fully operational and increasingly automated, so that the assessment can be carried out efficiently.  of the core group meeting 16-17 December 2014 * * * 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:Ulla Li Zweifel Professional Secretary HELCOM Tel. +358 46 850 9198 Skype: helcom64 E-mail: ullali.zweifel(at)helcom.fi Johanna Laurila Information Secretary HELCOM Tel: +358 40 523 8988 Skype: helcom70 E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.fi 

Second HELCOM holistic assessment will help evaluate progress of the Baltic Sea Action Plan and also assist in joint reporting for EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive in 2018.

Ties closing between HELCOM and Baltic Sea regional strategy

The cooperation between HELCOM and the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR) is expected to smoothen.  For the first time, a dedicated session with the representatives from relevant EUSBSR Priority Areas and Horizontal Actions was successfully organized as a part of this week’s of HELCOM Heads of Delegation representing all the Baltic coastal countries as well as the EU. The full meeting is now available online, listing all the issues addressed and decided on in the meeting for the benefit of the Baltic marine environment.Improving cooperation in practice was the key topic of HELCOM session with representatives from the EU Strategy for the Baltic sea Region. Photo: Dodik Putro.Concrete proposals on why and how to improve the synergies between HELCOM and EUSBSR have been listed in the meeting outcome. The shared goal would be to better communicate the policy directions and needs by HELCOM, which then can be met with and supported by the EUSBSR work and projects. The meeting recommended practical ways for better use of the expertise of HELCOM groups. Using the existing forums, co-chairing, back-to-back meetings, opportunity for involving Russian experts, and helping HELCOM countries in tapping into EU funding were also mentioned as practical solutions for more effective regional cooperation. The timing for the joint HELCOM-EUSBSR meeting was particularly adept, as the HELCOM streamlining process has been completed few months ago while the Action Plan of the EUSBSR is currently under revision, expecting launch at the Strategy’s Annual Forum in mid-June 2015. As per other results of the Heads of Delegation meeting, HELCOM “sub-hot spot” No. 18.1 “Construction of new sewer connections” was deleted, concerning the waste water treatment system of St. Petersburg. A large-scale environmental project for the construction of the northern tunnel collector of the city of five million inhabitants was finalized in October 2013, preventing the discharge of untreated waste water into the Neva River by approximately 122 million m3 per year. Since then, 98.4% of waste water has been estimated as adequately treated in St. Petersburg. HELCOM originally included 162 of the region’s significant sources of pollution, out of which over two thirds have since been mitigated.   Adequate reception for passenger ships was also negotiated by the Meeting, being part of the larger process of complying with the Baltic’s status as a sewage special area as decided by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in 2011. The consultations for a joint notification on the adequacy of ports’ reception facilities will continue via correspondence early next year. The meeting was held on 9-10 December 2014 and it was chaired by the current Estonian Chair of HELCOM, Mr. Harry Liiv. ..  * * * Note for editorsThe European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region () is the first macro-regional strategy in Europe. It aims at reinforcing cooperation within this large region in order to face several challenges by working together as well as promoting a more balanced development in the area. The Strategy also contributes to major EU policies and reinforces the integration within the area. The (HOD) of HELCOM usually meet few times a year. While the Annual Meeting of HELCOM remains the Commission’s highest decision-making body, the Heads of Delegation have a relatively high authority over most major issues.  The working structure of HELCOM, supported and administered by the Secretariat, comprises of the Helsinki Commission, the Heads of Delegation, and eight main working groups, together with tens of expert groups, correspondence groups and projects. 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:Johanna Laurila Information Secretary HELCOM Tel: +358 40 523 8988 Skype: helcom70 E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.fi​

For the first time, a dedicated session with the representatives from relevant EUSBSR areas was organized as a part of this week’s meeting of HELCOM Heads of Delegation.

Upgrading coherence in regional marine environment protection

The new, modernized HELCOM era starts hands-on work today when the HELCOM group on the implementation of the ecosystem approach () gathers in Tallinn, Estonia for a 3-day meeting. Gear group now operates under a revised mandate to better meet the emerging challenges in accomplishing the HELCOM goals and targets of the Baltic Sea Action Plan (). The Meeting will also discuss the more detailed work, such as the overall HELCOM roadmap with its deadlines and deliverables until 2021; a draft action plan to close knowledge gaps and improve regional coherence; as well an initiative to more effectively follow up the BSAP national implementation.The ecosystem approach is the key ingredient of the Baltic Sea Action Plan and the work of the renewed Gear group. Photo: Stuart Richards.After HELCOM process the Gear group will now hold a strong managerial role, with the mandate to integrate and utilize the work of other HELCOM groups for coherent implementation of marine policies, including of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive as far as EU Member States are concerned as well as Maritime Doctrine of the Russian Federation. Gear will continue to look after the synergies with relevant organizations and frameworks, including other Regional Seas Conventions such as the OSPAR Commission covering the North-Atlantic o improve regional coherence GEAR will also prepare by end of 2014 an Action Plan to close knowledge gaps identified in the implementation of marine policies to reach Good Environmental Status of the Baltic Sea. The plan will address improvements of joint assessments of the state of the environment, coordination of monitoring programmes and measures to improve the state of the Baltic Sea. urthermore the Meeting will specifically discuss the development of a joint documentation of programmes of measures. The work will be carried out to improve coordination of measures for all Contracting Parties and will be used by the HELCOM EU Member States in their reporting under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive in 2015 The Meeting will also discuss the continuing work on HELCOM core indicators and how to best synchronize with the work on national sets. The HELCOM core indicators are developed to measure the progress towards achieving a Good Environmental Status in the Baltic Sea which is the goal of the Baltic Sea Action Plan. The core indicators enable comparison of monitoring data and assessment results across the entire Baltic Sea region. . 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:Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988Skype: helcom70E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)helcom.fi Ulla Li ZweifelProfessional SecretaryHELCOMTel. +358 46 850 9198Skype: helcom64E-mail: ullali.zweifel(at)helcom.fi

The new HELCOM era starts hands-on work today in the Gear group meeting, guarding the ecosystem approach as well as managing coherent implementation of marine policies.

Marine litter, protected areas and monitoring among key priorities of Estonian Chairmanship of HELCOM

Estonia has released its for the 2-year of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, also known as Helsinki Commission or , which officially began one week ago. The main components addressed in the new Chairmanship priorities are pollution management; planning, management and marine protected areas; as well as assessment of environmental status and information. The nominated new Chairman is Harry Liiv, the Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of the Environment of Estonia.  Improved plans in water management and rural development for more effective        nutrient reduction, as well as reducing the impact of hazardous substances are parts of the overall first priority of pollution management.  Moreover, drawing up a joint regional action plan on reducing marine litter in 2015 at the latest, as was agreed by the region’s countries in the 2013 Ministerial Declaration, is listed as a priority.  Other priorities for the next two years include the use, conservation and protection of the Baltic Sea regional coastal and marine areas; further work for well arranged network of marine protected areas; as well as developing of ecosystem based management principles for fish stock and other environmental resources. Monitoring of high standards, reliable data and indicator work form the third pillar of the Estonian priorities, as well as the implementation of HELCOM communication strategy adopted last spring. “I am looking forward to the labour-intensive season of fully putting into practice the plentiful Ministerial commitments from October 2013, in the path of reaching a Baltic Sea in good environmental status. There are important deadlines ahead especially concerning HELCOM monitoring programme and guidelines, as well as the major effort to describe the status of the entire Baltic Sea in the 2nd HELCOM holistic assessment”, says the new HELCOM Chairman, Mr. Harry Liiv.   “In general terms, 2014 is a major year for Estonia with regards to regional cooperation thus providing concrete opportunities for even deeper synergies. In addition to the HELCOM Chairmanship, this month Estonia has assumed the yearly presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea. For the whole calendar year Estonia is leading the Nordic-Baltic cooperation (NB8), the Baltic Council of Ministers as well as the Baltic Assembly”, says Harry Liiv.   Mr. Harry Liiv has succeeded Ms. Helle Pilsgaard of Denmark, who chaired the Helsinki Commission in 2012–2014. The Chairmanship of HELCOM rotates between the Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union according to the alphabetical order every two years. Mr. Liiv will lead, as the Chairman, the work of HELCOM up until 30 June 2016.  the document HELCOM priorities during the Estonian Chairmanship. * * *Note for editors:The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organisation 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.HELCOM is the governing body of the “Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area,” more usually known as the Helsinki Convention, from 1974. * * *For further information, please contact:Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988E-mail:  Pille RõivasPublic Relations CouncellorMinistry of the Environment of EstoniaTel: +372 626 2811, +372 506 4608E-mail:

Estonian priorities for the 2-year HELCOM Chairmanship also cover pollution management, improving the network of marine protected areas and data reliability, among others.

Reducing nutrient pollution can cost less

​​The 2013 HELCOM nutrient reduction scheme is a step towards cost-efficient water protection, suggests a recent by the University of Helsinki and MTT Agrifood Research Finland. The conclusions state that while there is no need to revise the 2013 targets set for the Baltic Sea catchment, more flexibility for the implementation is required in order to maximise the economic benefits. Furthermore, the cost of reaching the previous nutrient reduction targets, as set in the 2007 Baltic Sea Action Plan, would have been 16% higher although the revised targets are now more ambitious with respect to phosphorus. By adopting the 2013 HELCOM Ministerial Declaration last October, the HELCOM members committed to revised nutrient reduction targets for each Baltic coastal country to limit their annual inputs below maximum allowable level in specific sub-basins. The report “” provides ideas to boost the performance of national implementation programmes of HELCOM countries.  The study demonstrates that there is potential for efficiency gains in load  reductions if more flexible mechanisms are put into place, such as joint implementation that could resemble climate change mitigation measures. The cost of meeting the remaining Country Allocated Reduction Targets (CART) – set for waterborne inputs – were roughly estimated to be 1980 million euros (MEUR) annually. According to the report these costs can be reduced by over 200 million, from 1980 to 1700 MEUR each year, if the HELCOM countries were allowed to account for load reduction efforts made in other countries, be reduced by almost 500 million if the HELCOM states, as already introduced in the 2013 commitment, account for nutrient reductions achieved in other than the focal catchments, and take into account the nutrient exchange between Baltic Sea basins.  The study is a follow-up of the and was performed during late 2013 – beginning 2014. The analysis is limited to estimating the costs of nutrient reductions made in waterborne inputs – both point and non-point sources in the catchment area – in the coastal countries. Together they account for 85% of the overall phosphorus input and 68% of the overall nitrogen input to the Baltic Sea. * * *Note for editorsWithin the , each country committed to fulfil particular targets for reducing nutrient pollution, through measures addressing discharges and emissions from land and via air. The updated targets represent the best available knowledge and give guidance to sharing responsibility for reducing nutrient inputs originating from both HELCOM and non-HELCOM countries, as well as from shipping and sources outside the region.  Reduction country-wise nutrient reduction targets as agreed in 2013 HELCOM Ministerial Declaration​ * = figures after ‘+’ refer to loads originating from the country but being discharged to the Sea via another country; additional specific footnotes to the table can be found in the Ministerial Declaration text​* * *The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organisation of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union workin​g 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 further information, please contactJohanna Laurila> Information Secretary> HELCOM> Tel: +358 40 523 8988> E-mail: > Skype: helcom70​

The 2013 HELCOM nutrient reduction scheme is a step towards cost-efficient water protection, suggests a recent study by the University of Helsinki and MTT Agrifood Research Finland.

New project improves eutrophication assessments on Baltic-wide scale

High
quality assessing of the entire Baltic Sea’s eutrophication status is expected
to greatly improve through a new Project, soon wrapping up its kick-off meeting
in Helsinki, Finland. During the 2-year project , the whole assessment process concerning the nine
Baltic coastal states will be designed and implemented, from monitoring and
data aggregation to visualizing the final assessment.  HELCOM has long experience in assessment work
of highest standards – elemental for estimating the effectiveness of
any adopted measures and for improving the health of Baltic marine environment.> >>The key Project
results will include more efficient data flow allowing for regular updates in
an automated way; flexibility in the system to also extract information; as
well as improved integration of indicators on eutrophication status with the
use of so called HEAT 3 assessment tool. With the new approach, HELCOM member
states will be able to utilize the reported data and assessment to also serve
their other requirements such as of EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive as
far as EU countries are concerned. >> >Moreover,
the Project outcome will form an integral part of the next HELCOM holistic
assessment, also including components on biodiversity and hazardous substances,
and published in 2016 as stated in the Ministerial Declaration last year. > >>The Project
will also improve the quality of the existing core indicators on eutrophication
status. The measures entail the introduction of new data types such as remote
sensing and ship-of-opportunity data, as well as development of additional
indicators to fill the gaps in the present set. The task is also to harmonize
coastal and open sea assessment.>>                                                                                                                                                          >* * *>Note for editors:>The Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission, usually referred to as ,
is an intergovernmental organisation 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:>Vivi Fleming-Lehtinen>Project Manager/EUTRO-OPER>HELCOM>
Tel. +358 040 032 9157>
Skype: helcom65>E-mail: >> >Johanna Laurila>
Information Secretary>
HELCOM>
Tel: +358 40 523 8988>
Skype: helcom70>
E-mail: >>

The entire assessment process will be designed and implemented, from monitoring and data aggregation to visualizing the final assessment.

Region’s key current issues reviewed in HELCOM Annual Meeting

​The 35th Annual Meeting of closed yesterday evening after reviewing the current and relevant key issues related to regional policy-making on Baltic marine environment.  The Annual Meeting, involving HELCOM member parties which consist of all the Baltic coastal nations and the EU, is the highest decision-making body of HELCOM and explores the yearly developments concerning eutrophication, hazardous substances, biodiversity and maritime activities. This year’s Meeting started with a special festive flavor with the 40th Anniversary celebrating the signing of the 1974 Helsinki Convention, providing the basis for HELCOM work.  The Meeting decided yesterday on necessary steps in order to develop a Regional Action Plan on marine litter by 2015, as agreed by the Ministerial Meeting last October. Marine litter is a broad and critical concern and the Action Plan will form a regional strategy on how to deal with it in a comprehensive way. The Plan will be developed based on information on sources and amounts of marine litter, and it aims to include concrete measures to minimize the presence of marine litter in the Baltic Sea. Its development will be organized through regional workshops and with close involvement of the Contracting Parties. The proposed working plan utilizes the experience from preparing the Regional Action Plan for the North-East Atlantic within OSPAR. Another key topic in the extensive Meeting agenda was the major overhaul of the HELCOM Recommendation on coastal and marine Baltic Sea protected areas. Such protected areas are essential for maintaining biodiversity and ensuring the versatility of ecosystems. The previous similar document, HELCOM Recommendation , was adopted 20 years ago, and the Contracting Parties now agreed on the main changes in the Recommendation with only small aspects pending confirmation shortly. The main reasons for creating the new Recommendation have been the need to update the selection criteria of the marine protected areas, also concerning the newly Red-listed habitats and species; to establish a new database and ensure it is updated; and to re-assess the criteria for both ecological coherence and management aspects. Furthermore, to help reduce harmful nutrients in the Baltic Sea, the Meeting decided in principal to submit a notification on improved sewage reception facilities in Baltic ports to the International Maritime Organization (). Such a submission to IMO meeting will trigger an enforcement of ban on sewage discharges from passenger ships according to the special areas status of the Baltic Sea under the IMO MARPOL convention, which Baltic has been granted as the first sea area in the world following the HELCOM-led process.  An overview on current availability of port reception facilities for passenger vessels’ sewage, as well as on passenger traffic trends, are about to be published on HELCOM website. Almost 40 years of successful marine protection of HELCOM has been achieved through constant self-reflection. Yesterday the 35th Annual Meeting endorsed a plan for major deliverables by the organization until 2021 as well as agreed to implement a number of measures for a modernized HELCOM. The new, more streamlined working structure for HELCOM main operational bodies was to a large extent completed, to better reflect the current environmental challenges and obligations of the Contracting Parties. HELCOM will pay more attention in the future to better communicating scientific and technical outcomes to decision-makers as well as the general public.  The 35th meeting was chaired by Helle Pilsgaard, Chair of HELCOM. All Meeting documents can be accessed in  * * *Note for editors:The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organisation 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:Johanna Laurila Information Secretary HELCOM Tel: +358 40 523 8988 Skype: helcom70 E-mail:  

Work starts on Baltic marine litter action plan and other current key issues reviewed on Baltic environmental policies.