Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

Solutions for shared environmental challenges of Black and Baltic Seas

Final straight starts in exchanging best practices on environmental monitoring between the Baltic and the Black Seas, in the fourth and final project workshop which continues today in Istanbul, Turkey.  The EU funded project , or, “Environmental monitoring of the Black Sea with focus on nutrient pollution”, has for three years maintained close contact between expert networks in these regions, for sharing knowledge and developing new assessment methods for systematic monitoring of the largely similar marine environments. Baltic Sea Marine Environment Protection Commission () and the have been the key organizing forces. The two-day workshop introduces the recent developments in the monitoring and assessment of effects of nutrient enrichment, which is currently on-going in the Baltic Sea as mandated in the 2013 Copenhagen Ministerial Declaration last month. This time the HELCOM experts will present to the Black Sea colleagues the work done to improve the joint coordinated monitoring and assessment system for the Baltic Sea. This entails, for instance, presenting the new HELCOM Monitoring and Assessment Strategy and new projects in the Baltic Sea area,such as  the recently started BALSAM project (Testing new concepts for integrated environmental monitoring of the Baltic Sea) and the upcoming EUTRO-OPER project (Making the eutrophication assessments operational).  A central contribution from HELCOM experts to the Black Sea experts have been the details of the nutrient reduction scheme, just upgraded and newly adopted by the HELCOM Ministers in October 2013, including the calculations of maximum allowable inputs of nutrients and the country-wise reduction targets. Other key items of exchange include harmonized monitoring of marine eutrophication e.g. via remote sensing techniques and other new valuable methods; and the benefits and development needs of a new eutrophication assessment tool “BEAST” in the Black Sea context. The regions have cooperated closely on BEAST, which is based on HELCOM assessment tool HEAT and expected to be useful in providing harmonized assessments of the eutrophication status in the entire Black Sea.  Furthermore, while binding together lessons learnt during the project, the aim is to discuss and draft plans regarding potential future cooperation between these two marginal semi-enclosed brackish sea regions sharing similar environmental challenges. Eutrophication – the main focus in the project Baltic2Black – is recognised as a major threat to the ecosystems of both seas, and it is directly linked to the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Assessing the ecosystem status of the seas in a holistic manner, taking into account all human pressures and their cumulative impacts on the marine ecosystems, could hence be considered one of the priorities in the future cooperation.      * * *Note for editors:The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, usually referred to as , is an intergovernmental organization of all the nine Baltic Sea countries and the EU which works to protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution and to ensure safety of navigation.HELCOM is the governing body of the “Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area,” known as the Helsinki Convention. * * *For further information, please contact:Miia MannerlaProject Researcher, Baltic2BlackHELCOM Tel: +358 40 045 9349 E-mail: miia.mannerla@helcom.fiSkype: helcom81 Johanna Laurila Information Secretary HELCOM Tel: +358 40 523 8988 E-mail: Skype: helcom70

Final straight starts in exchanging best practices on environmental monitoring between the Baltic and the Black Seas.