Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission


Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission


​Actions to evaluate and identify effective measures to reach GES in the Baltic Sea marine region (HELCOM ACTION)

The HELCOM ACTION project is a HELCOM coordinated project that is co-financed by the EU. The project will run from January 2019 to December 2020 (prolonged to May 2021). The project is designed to contribute to the update of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan by 2021 and can also be used by HELCOM Contracting Parties that are also EU Member States in updating and implementing their MSFD Programme of Measures.

The project will evaluate the effectiveness of existing measures, focussing on several pertinent topics, such as: by-catch of mammals and birds, impacts on the seabed, marine protected areas, and eutrophication. These topics have been chosen based on identified priorities in the region, for example some of the main pressures on the Baltic Sea ecosystem identified in the HELCOM State of the Baltic Sea report. In addition, the project will analyse the natural conditions that influence the achievement of Good Environmental Status (GES) in the Baltic Sea region, including impacts of projected changes in climate. Furthermore, the project will develop an approach for regional sufficiency of measures (SOM) analysis to identify potential gaps in achieving GES, and estimate cost-effectiveness of tentative new measures to fill these gaps. The project aims utilize data driven analyses wherever possible, but expert based evaluations will complement existing data where required.

The project will be carried out in seven work packages:

  • WP1 By-catch: identifying high-risk areas for by-catch of mammals and birds, evaluating technical measures to reduce by-catch of harbour porpoise, estimating the effect and cost of these mitigation measures.
  • WP2 Impacts on the seabed: evaluating restoration measures in coastal areas and impacts of spatial regulation of offshore fisheries, including effects on benthic communities and costs of measures
  • WP3 Marine protected areas (MPAs): developing a method to assess management effectiveness of MPAs, assessing how MPAs contribute to achieving GES in the Baltic Sea
  • WP4 Input of nutrients: analysing sources and trends of nutrient input and compatibility of nutrient reduction targets under different policies, evaluating the combined effect of existing measures
  • WP5 Conditions that influence GES: analysing the conditions of the Baltic Sea that influence achievement of GES, including climate change
  • WP6 Sufficiency of measures: developing an approach to assess the sufficiency of existing measures to achieve GES, implementing the approach for selected topics, identifying the need for new measures, estimating cost-effectiveness of tentative new measures
  • WP7: Policy-project interphase: ensuring guidance from and timely contribution to the BSAP update process and the preparation of MSFD PoMs.

The project will utilize existing HELCOM structures (i.e. expert groups and working groups) to seek additional data, discuss development taking place, and to present methodologies and findings. The methodological framework developed in the project is expected to be applicable also in other marine regions and dissemination through MSFD CIS and other Regional Seas Convention, in particular OSPAR, will take place during the course of the project.

The project project partners include: Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission – Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Aarhus University (AU), Tallinn University of Technology (TTU), The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM), Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), University of Tartu (UT), and Klaipėda University, Marine Research Institute (KU).

Project reports and documents

Inception report

Final report

WP1 By-catch

WP2 Impacts on the seabed

WP3 Marine protected areas (MPAs)

WP4 Input of nutrients

WP5 Conditions that influence GES

WP6 Sufficiency of measures

WP6.2 Cost effectiveness and sufficiency of new proposed measures

For more information, please contact:

Owen Rowe

Project Manager 

(HELCOM indicators, Pan Baltic Scope, ACTION)
Tel: +358 401622054