HELCOM just published several maps on essential fish habitats, publicly available online on HELCOM’s Map and Data service. The maps were produced under the recently concluded Pan Baltic Scope project on maritime spatial planning (MSP) in the Baltic Sea region and to which HELCOM was a partner.
The maps show potential spawning areas of cod, sprat and herring, which are the commercially most important fish species in the Baltic Sea region, as well as key areas for European and Baltic flounder, perch and pikeperch.
“With the maps on essential fish habitats, we now have another tool at our disposal to identify and evaluate marine areas of greater ecological importance,” said SLU Aqua’s Lena Bergström who was responsible for this component within the Pan Baltic Scope project.
Combined with corresponding data for other ecosystem components, the maps on essential fish habitats can be used to identify regions of high ecological value and areas which have the potential to deliver various essential ecosystem services.
The maps can be found under Biodiversity section of the HELCOM Map and Data service:
- Potential spawning areas for cod
- Potential spawning areas for Baltic flounder
- Potential spawning areas for European flounder
- Potential nursery areas for flounders
- Potential spawning areas for herring
- Potential spawning areas for sprat
- Potential recruitment areas for perch
- Potential recruitment areas for pikeperch
The maps can also be downloaded as raster files from the HELCOM Metadata catalogue.
The Pan Baltic Scope project was co-founded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund of the European Union. In the project, HELCOM notably collaborated on a data sharing activity to support regional cooperation and transboundary coherence in MSP which lead to the development of BASEMAPS, a web-based tool showing decentralized MSP data through open standard services.