Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

New criteria for sustainable aquaculture are a best practice example from HELCOM

HELCOM has officially unveiled the comprehensive Best Available Technologies (BAT) and Best Environmental Practices (BEP) for sustainable aquaculture in the Baltic Sea region, marking the culmination of extensive and constructive efforts. Helsinki Convention, governed by HELCOM, is the first Regional Seas Convention in Europe that has such specific guidance on aquaculture and can be regarded as a best practice example.

The balance between protection of the highly sensitive and strained Baltic Sea marine environment and the needs of the growing aquaculture sector was challenging to negotiate, but the successful and ambitious BAT/BEP descriptions give thorough and concrete guidance for both marine and freshwater aquaculture.

The pioneering BAT/BEP document is highly detailed, and it covers a wide range of issues, from inputs of nutrients and hazardous substances to marine litter, non-indigenous species and escapees, underwater noise, sustainable feed and feeding practices, as well as permits, monitoring and staff training. For instance, aquaculture can be a source of hazardous substance inputs through veterinary medicinal products, antifouling coatings, and cleaning and disinfection products. Concerning nutrient inputs, the key reason for eutrophication in the Baltic Sea, BAT/BEP descriptions recommend to set discharge limits that take account of the nutrient reduction scheme of HELCOM and the goals of the Baltic Sea Action Plan.

A regular reporting process aims to secure that HELCOM Contracting Parties apply the guidelines in their aquaculture operations.

The new BAT/BEP descriptions help to ensure that the growing aquaculture sector develops sustainably in the Baltic Sea.

BAT/BEP descriptions of sustainable aquaculture in the Baltic Sea region


Johanna Laurila

Communication Advisor, HELCOM

+358 40 6473996