Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

HELCOM discusses threatened species and next holistic assessment

​​​​How can threatened species of the Baltic Sea be better protected by coastal states is one major point of discussion at the HELCOM State and Conservation group’s starting today in Schwerin, Germany. Countries will now start planning their conservation activities which aim to reduce the number of Baltic Sea species categorized as threatened according to the HELCOM , following HELCOM Recommendation () was adopted last month. Plans will also now be put into motion to develop an associated HELCOM Recommendation to protect red listed biotopes and habitats in the Baltic Sea.Protecting species and habitats of the Baltic Sea moves ahead in the HELCOM State & Conservation meeting. Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Services/Essi Keskinen.This week coastal country representatives, observers and researchers will discuss a number of other issues related to Baltic nature conservation and to monitoring and assessing the state of the sea. Many are directly related to – the Second Holistic Assessment of the Ecosystem Health of the Baltic Sea to be released mid-2017.  HOLAS II will incorporate thematic assessments on biodiversity, eutrophication and hazardous substances as well as address topics such as marine litter, underwater noise, and non-indigenous species. The assessment will be based on tools for which the practical rules for assessing the different thematic areas will be discussed at the meeting. The status assessments will build on HELCOM core indicators that provides quantitative definitions of Good Environmental Status (GES). GES definitions for some indicators will be presented for endorsement at this week’s meeting.  The working group continues to review and revise joint HELCOM monitoring which are essential to the coordination of monitoring by countries in the shared sea area. HELCOM started such systematic monitoring decades ago and a new round of guideline updates will be discussed at this meeting. The process is expected to be completed and guidelines included in the comprehensive HELCOM within 2016. The five-day meeting will also cover a session on underwater noise. HELCOM, through EU co-financed BalticBOOST project, is currently identifying the spatial and temporal distribution of sound sensitive species and habitats in the Baltic Sea which will form the basis for developing principles for defining Good Environmental Status (GES) for noise. Furthermore, a proposed monitoring programme for underwater noise will be discussed, building on the outcome of the Life+ project BIAS. The meeting will convene on 11-15 April 2016 and is chaired by Penina Blankett and Urmas Lips, Co-Chairs of the HELCOM Working Group on the State of the Environment and Nature Conservation.  All documents will be public after the meeting. * * * Note for editorsHELCOM State & Conservation covers monitoring and assessment functions as well as nature conservation and biodiversity protection in HELCOM. The group works across the monitoring-indicators-assessment chain for the coordinated development of HELCOM thematic assessment tools, as well as coherent holistic assessment of the ecosystems health. 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) Johanna LaurilaInformation SecretaryHELCOMTel: +358 40 523 8988Skype: helcom70E-mail: johanna.laurila(at)

HELCOM countries will now start planning their conservation activities which aim to reduce the number of Baltic Sea species categorized as threatened