Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

 

Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission

HELCOM publishes maps on fish habitats

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: 

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.

Sea trout are back in Lithuanian river after successful restoration under the RETROUT project

©Piotr Wawrzyniuk – stock.adobe.com

Sea trout are reproducing again in parts of the Smeltalė river in Lithuania after a successful restoration exercise under the Baltic-wide RETROUT project.

“We counted 13 new sea trout nests within only two months after the restoration work was finished,” said Nerijus Nika from Klaipeda University, one of the partners responsible for the Lithuanian river restorations within RETROUT, further noting that the specifically created reproduction sections, or spawning habitats, were all intensively used by sea trout. The restoration work was completed in September 2019.

RETROUT carries out a number of river restoration demonstration cases in the project partner countries to improve the condition of sea trout populations. 

“For viable and healthy sea trout populations, we need healthy and accessible rivers. Unfortunately, many rivers potentially suitable for sea trout aren’t yet in the condition we’d like them to be,” said Henri Jokinen, the RETROUT project manager at HELCOM.

In Lithuania, the rehabilitation started with the creation of a system of meandering shallow ponds in an area of the Smeltalė river previously purposed as a surface flow treatment wetland for improved water quality. 

Since its construction 20 years ago, the wetland hadn’t been maintained, accumulating excessive sediments from defaulting sedimentation ponds as well as suffering from excessive vegetation on its banks. 

In addition, a 500 m section was modified in the Smeltaitė stream, a main tributary of Smeltalė river, using stones, gravel and logs to create three 50 m long spawning and juvenile rearing habitats. 

“According to local experts, such habitats are spawning hot spots for salmonids and lampreys in lowland streams of Lithuania,” said Jokinen. Indeed, all three created spawning habitat sections were intensively used by sea trout only two months after completion. 

In the Smeltaitė stream, the two biggest trout nests – of 7,5 m2 and 10 m2 – were found in the restored stretch, in habitats pre-evaluated to be of high priority for sea trout females. One of these sites was constantly occupied for 1.5 month by up to five different trout, a rather unusual spawning behaviour. 

With special focus on sea trout, the RETROUT project seeks to promote and develop sustainable coastal fishing tourism in the Baltic Sea region. RETROUT initiated 15 restoration cases in coastal rivers of Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Sweden. Measures under the project cover fishways, biotope restorations, water quality improvement, and dam removal plans. 

In the RETROUT project, HELCOM leads the work package on Assessment of status and management of sea trout rivers and stocks which focuses mainly on the ecological aspect of trout fishing, notably through assessing fish stock and river habitat status, and by evaluating river restoration practices to improve trout populations. 

The main results will be published as an assessment report and as a toolbox of best practices and guidelines for river restoration in the Baltic Sea. 

“In addition to improving the actual condition of a river, the experience we get from these demonstration cases will help us to develop the ‘Guidelines for river restoration best practices in the Baltic Sea region,’ another major outcome of the project,” said Jokinen.

The restoration of the Smeltalė river was conducted by the Klaipeda District Municipality Administration, with technical and scientific support from the Klaipeda University. 

Photos from Smeltalė river, Lithuania. © Nerijus Nika

Two sea trout in their newly restored habitat. © Tomas Ruginis

Bye-bye bycatch: HELCOM and OSPAR are pooling efforts to deal with incidental catch of species

fishing-net-557249.jpg

To better understand incidental bycatch of marine mammals and seabirds due to fishing, HELCOM and its sister organization from the North Sea, OSPAR, held a joint workshop in Copenhagen, Denmark from 3 to 5 September 2019.

Bycatch has been identified as a serious pressure on several species in both the North and Baltic Seas. According to estimates published in the HELCOM State of the Baltic Sea report, up to 200,000 seabirds drown annually in both seas, trapped in fishing gear.

The report further indicates that only 500 harbour porpoises and 100 ringed seals are estimated to remain in the Baltic Proper – the central part of the Baltic – and the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland respectively. Bycatch is therefore a major threat to these already low populations.

“The North and Baltic Seas have a direct ecological connection, with species freely moving between the two basins,” said Jannica Haldin, the HELCOM Professional Secretary in charge of biodiversity, further stressing that a common approach is essential to effectively address the bycatch issue.

By the same token, the workshop paved the way towards a proposal for joint conservation objectives on incidental bycatch between the two sister seas, which may further lead to the development of a common regional indicator on bycatch applicable in both areas.

HELCOM already has its own indicator on bycatch – Number of drowned mammals and waterbirds in fishing gear – which currently makes a descriptive evaluation of whether the number of drowned marine mammals and seabirds are below the level considered to reflect sustainable levels.

In addition to benefitting the countries that are members of both HELCOM and OSPAR, namely Denmark, Germany and Sweden, a joint approach on bycatch would also facilitate the national efforts of EU countries to assess the mortality rate from incidental bycatch per species as set by the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).

In Copenhagen, it also became clear that more data on small fishing vessels is urgently needed. Unlike larger vessels, small boats are currently not generally required to report on their fishing activities, complicating bycatch assessments.

“Small vessels make up a large part of the fisheries in the Baltic Sea. Due to their lower capacities they tend to operate closer to the coast, which is also where many seabirds forage. This overlap leads to a higher likelihood of bycatch, often amplified by the type of fishing gear commonly used by smaller boats such as gillnets,” said Haldin.

During the workshop, it was suggested that mapping high-risk areas can help guide effective assessment of bycatch.

“Overlaying fishing data with species distribution and abundance can provide a good indication on where bycatch is likely to happen,” said Owen Rowe, the HELCOM project manager on indicators, adding that a solid risk assessment could help minimize bycatch.

The results of the workshop will now be considered at the respective working group levels in HELCOM and OSPAR. At HELCOM, the findings will further feed into the preparations of the next holistic assessment of the Baltic Sea, HOLAS III.

See the WS documents

Halfway there: RETROUT project for promoting sustainable fishing and viable fish stocks convenes for its mid-term meeting

The project had its mid-term meeting in Gdańsk, Poland from 8 to 9 May
2019, looking at achievements so far and the next steps to be taken.  “Work is progressing according to plans,
although some challenges need to be tackled to reach the final goals by the end
of the project in fall 2020,” said Håkan Häggström, the RETROUT from the County Administrative
Board of Stockholm, Sweden. With special focus on sea trout, RETROUT
seeks to promote and develop sustainable coastal fishing tourism in the Baltic
Sea region. Fostering thriving fish populations is a key approach of the
project, through enabling healthy and accessible river habitats for the natural
reproduction of sea trout that will eventually lead to a larger stock size. In the countries where it operates, the
project also carries out a number of river restoration initiatives to improve the
condition of sea trout populations. For example, one case study will focus on
the renewal of the riverbed to increase nursery areas, while another project is
working on building a new fish pass to facilitate the free movement of fish
past migration obstacles.  “For healthy trout populations, rivers need
to be protected and restored, for instance by removing migration hindrances and
improving spawning grounds. We need to increase the efforts for securing
self-sustaining and viable populations of migratory fish in the Baltic Sea”,
said Henri Jokinen, the RETROUT Project manager at HELCOM. In Gdańsk, HELCOM chaired the second day
work group session for the RETROUT work package on ‘Assessment of status and
management of sea trout rivers and stocks.’ This  focuses mainly on the ecological
aspect of trout fishing, notably through assessing fish stock and river habitat
status, and by evaluating river restoration practices to improve trout
populations. The main results will be published as an assessment report and as
a toolbox of best practices for river restoration in the Baltic Sea.  “So far, we have had a very useful workshop
about sea trout assessment and monitoring methods last year, we have collected
a nice data set of past river restoration cases and conducted a valuable amount
of stakeholder interviews to learn about factors of success and failure in
river restoration projects, and we advanced with the river restoration
demonstration projects carried out in the project countries, to mention some of
the achievements. We are in a good place to start on the next half of the
project,” said Jokinen. The HELCOM-led work in RETROUT is in line
with the  on salmon and
sea trout, and supports the  ‘Conservation of
Baltic Salmon (Salmo salar) and Sea Trout (Salmo trutta)
populations by the restoration of their river habitats and management of river
fisheries’. In essence, the RETROUT project aims to
stimulate sustainable economic and social development based on healthy
ecosystems, reflecting the general HELCOM priorities.With 14 partners from Sweden, Estonia,
Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, and including HELCOM, RETROUT is a three-year Interreg
project running until September 2020. RETROUT is a flagship project of the EU
Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region . It is co-financed by the  under the Natural resources
priority field. –For
more information:Henri
Jokinen
RETROUT Project manager
henri.jokinen@helcom.fi 

The RETROUT project had its mid-term meeting in Gdańsk, Poland from 8 to 9 May 2019, looking at achievements so far and the next steps to be taken.

Coastal fish assessments will continue in the Baltic Sea with renewed HELCOM project

 Members of the FISH-PRO III project in Helsinki on 13 February 2019. © HELCOMCoastal fish assessments will continue to be carried out in the Baltic Sea with renewed commitment from the HELCOM countries, as shown during the first meeting of the  that was held in Helsinki from 12 to 14 February 2019. The focus of the meeting was to finalize the revised monitoring guideline for coastal fish in HELCOM, and to follow up on the development work of the indicators used for the assessments of coastal fish.”The Helsinki meeting took us a step further in the development of additional indicators for coastal fish,” said Jens Olsson, project manager of FISH-PRO III and chair of the meeting.The current  on coastal fish notably evaluate the abundance of typical species of fish, such as perch and flounder, in the coastal areas of the Baltic Sea. They also evaluate the status of key functional groups such as piscivores, cyprinids and mesopredators.FISH-PRO III – the Continuation of the Project for Baltic-wide assessment of coastal fish communities in support of an ecosystem-based management – follows the FISH-PRO II project. Findings from FISH-PRO II were recently published in the . HELCOM thematic assessments on coastal fish have been produced since 2006. Attended by participants from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden, the meeting was instrumental in outlining the project’s thematic areas of work and workplan for the coming years. Furthermore, the assessments produced by FISH-PRO III will also feed the . 

Coastal fish assessments will continue to be carried out in the Baltic Sea with renewed commitment from the HELCOM countries, as shown during the first meeting of the FISH-PRO III project that was held in Helsinki from 12 to 14 February 2019.

Mapping of essential fish habitats gets underway in joint HELCOM-Pan Baltic Scope workshop

Experts in marine biology and maritime spatial planning came together in Riga from 12 to 13 December in a workshop addressing essential fish habitats in the Baltic Sea, with the goal to map the most significant areas.

“We want to see where the important fish habitats are in the Baltic Sea,” said Lena Bergström from HELCOM who co-organized the workshop together with Latvia, adding that the maps will be a useful tool for better informed maritime spatial planning (MSP).

During the workshop, participants validated the proposed essential fish habitats maps, and provided recommendations for their further use in HELCOM. The maps will eventually be made available to maritime spatial planners as well as other users on HELCOM’s website.

Essential fish habitats are – as their name suggests – essential for the healthy development of fish during their entire life cycle, from spawning, nursery and feeding to maturity. These habitats play an important role in the entire food web chain and marine ecosystem.

Since most fish species use different habitat types for different periods of their life cycle, the workshop notably focussed on describing different categories such as spawning areas, nursery areas for larvae and juveniles, adult feeding areas, and migratory corridors.The information presented during the workshop will be further used in the , to develop a concept of for supporting maritime spatial planning in the HELCOM region.

A novelty in MSP, green infrastructure seeks to promote an ecosystem-based approach in maritime spatial plans that also integrates the ecosystem services rendered by the marine environment – the free benefits we humans gain from a sea in a healthy state. The workshop was co-organised by HELCOM and the Pan Baltic Scope project, and hosted by the Latvian Ministry of Environment.

Experts in marine biology and maritime spatial planning came together in Riga from 12 to 13 December in a workshop addressing essential fish habitats in the Baltic Sea, with the goal to map the most significant areas.

HELCOM report on coastal fish in the Baltic Sea finds that only half of the assessed areas are in a good state

 HELCOM recently published a report assessing coastal fish in the Baltic, the . According to the report, only about half of the assessed areas obtain a good status.In general, the overall status of varies between geographical areas, with the north of the Baltic faring slightly better than the south. Key species and piscivores show a better status in more northern areas of the Baltic, compared to the south of the sea. For cyprinids, the status is often insufficient due to overabundance, especially in the north-eastern part of the Baltic.  “The report summarizes the current status of coastal fish communities in the Baltic Sea as derived from official monitoring programs of the ,” said Jens Olsson from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and who led the report. “It also contains short reviews on the factors regulating the communities and potential measures for the restoration and protection of coastal fish in the Baltic Sea.”To date, measures to restore and support coastal fish communities have barely been evaluated. As highlighted in the report, fishing regulations including permanent or temporary no-take areas, gear regulations, and habitat protection and restoration are measures that have shown to have a positive effects on fish populations.Coastal fish communities are regulated by a plethora of both natural and human-induced factors such as fishing, habitat exploitation, climate, eutrophication and interactions between species in the ecosystem.In being in the central part of the food-web, coastal fish are of key ecological and socio-economic importance, and their status often reflects the general health of coastal ecosystems.Depending on the sub-basin, the assessed key species were mainly perch and, in some southern areas, also flounder. The monitored piscivorous fish were perch, pike, pike-perch, burbot, cod and turbot. In the cyprinid family, roach and breams dominated the catch assessed. In the few areas where cyprinids do not occur naturally, mesopredatory fish were assessed instead, such as wrasses, sticklebacks, flatfishes, clupeids and gobies.”The information contained in this report is a valuable basis for following up on the objectives of the  and , as well as for the development of national management plans for coastal fish,” concluded Olsson.   –For more information:Jens OlssonSwedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU Aqua)jens.olsson@slu.se

HELCOM recently published a report assessing coastal fish in the Baltic. According to the report, only about half of the assessed areas obtain a good status.

RETROUT project for promoting coastal fishing in the Baltic Sea convenes in Stockholm for its yearly partnership meeting

​The RETROUT project team meets in Stockholm for its yearly partnership meeting. © Maria ÅmanFor their yearly partnership meeting, the  project team members met in Stockholm from 1 to 2 October 2018 to report on the current state of the project and devise on future approaches and activities to be included in an updated of the work plan. With a focus on sea trout, the RETROUT project seeks to promote the Baltic Sea region as a major coastal fishing tourism destination. “Fishing tourism in the Baltic sea has a very large potential that is not yet fully realised, for instance due to poor environmental condition of some rivers in the Baltic Sea region,” said Håkan Häggström, the RETROUT Project Lead coordinator from the County Administrative Board of Stockholm. “With RETROUT, we want to tie together river restoration with sustainable economic growth driven by fishing tourism in coastal areas.” The RETROUT project particularly resonates with the  currently promoted by HELCOM, considering the needs and interlinkages of both healthy ecosystems and economic and social development.In Stockholm, HELCOM chaired the separate work group session for the RETROUT work package on ‘Assessment of status and management of sea trout rivers and stocks.’The aim of this  is to assess the status of and pressures on sea trout rivers and stocks, notably caused by recreational fishing. HELCOM also evaluates different river restoration methods and best practices, to provide recommendations on river and stock management. “At this stage of the project, it is now time to move on from plans to action. I see an interesting year ahead, with good progress on sea trout stock and habitat assessments. This is crucial information for successful river restorations,” said Henri Jokinen, the RETROUT Project manager at HELCOM.The HELCOM work is in line with the , and supports the  “Conservation of Baltic Salmon (Salmo salar) and Sea Trout (Salmo trutta) populations by the restoration of their river habitats and management of river fisheries.”The outcomes of the RETROUT project will also feed into the update process of the  (BSAP), HELCOM’s strategic tool for a healthy Baltic Sea and that already calls for plans on river restoration and management of coastal fish species among others. The results will notably facilitate the so-called “analysis of sufficiency of measures”, indicating whether current actions to reach the BSAP objectives are yielding the expected results or not. With 14 partners from Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, and including HELCOM, RETROUT is a three-year project running until September 2020 and promoting the Baltic Sea region as a coastal fishing tourism destination. RETROUT is a flagship project of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region . It is co-financed by the  under the Natural resources priority field.–For more information:Henri JokinenRETROUT Project managerhenri.jokinen@helcom.fi

For their yearly partnership meeting, the RETROUT project team members met in Stockholm from 1 to 2 October 2018 to report on the current state of the project and devise on future approaches and activities to be included in an updated of the work plan. Wi

HELCOM contributes to global UN meeting in Seoul, sharing insight on cross-sectoral cooperation to reach the SDGs in the Baltic Sea

Helsinki, 12 April 2018 – HELCOM shared its experience on developing and implementing policies for ocean governance at the regional level during the Second Meeting of the Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) Global Dialogue with Regional Seas Organizations and Regional Fishery Bodies. Convened by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in collaboration with the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea, the event took place in Seoul from 10 to 13 April 2018. The goal of the SOI is to facilitate dialogue to exchange experiences and to identify options and opportunities to enhance cross-sectoral collaboration among Regional Seas Organizations and Regional Fisheries Bodies, with a view to support their key role in facilitating achievement of the and the relevant .At the meeting in Seoul, HELCOM shared its knowledge on ecosystem-based maritime spatial planning and harmonized implementation of the to limit discharges of sewage and air emissions from ships.Earlier in March at the HELCOM Ministerial Meeting held in Brussels, the HELCOM Ministers already decided to in order to step up efforts to reach the SDGs and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets in the Baltic Sea. As demonstrated yet again at this second SOI meeting, contributions by regional stakeholders such as fisheries bodies will be key to achieving these goalsThe latest , to be finalized in June this year, shows that most fish, birds and marine mammal populations, as well as benthic and pelagic habitats of the Baltic Sea are still not in a healthy state.In this context, the Baltic Sea countries and the EU earlier agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation between HELCOM and fishery bodies active in the Baltic Sea region – in particular – and the , to seek synergies with the work carried out by the (ICES). Coherence between marine and fisheries management measures is needed to reach the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the relevant UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular .  The SOI meeting is a follow up on the first meeting held in 2016, with this year’s event focusing on concrete ways to enhance cooperation to improve the overall condition of marine biodiversity. The outcome of the SOI meeting is expected to include a roadmap to enhance cross-sectoral cooperation, synergies for effective delivery and inter-regional sharing of expertise through the SOI Global Dialogue. InfosMore about the event here (live reporting): and here (meeting documents): Follow #CBDSOI on social mediaTwitter: @CBDNews (CBD), @IISDRS (IISD Reporting Services)Facebook: @UNBiodiversity (CBD), @IISDRS (IISD Reporting Services)

HELCOM shared its experience on developing and implementing policies for ocean governance at the regional level during the Second Meeting of the Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) Global Dialogue in Seoul.

Maritime activities in the Baltic Sea assessed in new report

PRESS RELEASE 9 MARCH 2018 – After two years of work, HELCOM today releases a comprehensive assessment of maritime activities in the Baltic Sea. The report covers a wide range human activities at sea, from commercial maritime traffic to leisure boating and from fisheries to hazardous submerged objects.HELCOM releases today the most comprehensive assessment of maritime activities in the Baltic Sea region currently available – covering distribution of activities at sea, developments over time, related environmental issues as well as future perspectives and scenarios. The vast number of activities addressed include operational and accidental pollution from maritime traffic, fisheries, aquaculture, offshore energy production, cables and pipelines, submerged hazardous objects, and leisure boating. Visual contents of the HELCOM Maritime Assessment 2018.Shipping and pollution A large part of the report is dedicated to maritime traffic – still the most common maritime activity in the Baltic Sea – and to mapping it on a regional scale. In terms of environmental effects, the report highlights that some types of ship-based pollution have already been effectively dealt with in the Baltic Sea over the last decades, including 90% reductions in both operational oil spills and sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions from ships exhaust gases.For other types of ship-based pollution, recent decisions will result in more reductions in the near future. Those decisions include banning of untreated sewage discharges by 2021 and a requirement of 80% reduction of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions for new ships built 2021 or later. However, some types of ship-based pollution remain unquantified, including litter, chemical residuals, and anti-fouling paints, and others, such as underwater sound, are yet to be addressed. The concluding chapter of the report explores future scenarios of maritime traffic and related environmental regulations.Stable accident numbers, increase in aquaculture and energy productionShip accidents in the Baltic Sea occurred at a fairly stable level of 300 accidents per year during the period 2011–2015, 4 % of which led to loss of life, serious injuries, or environmental damages. The coastal countries have relatively well-developed systems in place to prevent accidents by increasing safety of navigation. As an example, nearly 200 000 km2 of seabed, more than the combined surface area of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, have been resurveyed between 2001 and 2016 by national hydrographic agencies in the Baltic Sea, bringing the accuracy of nautical charts to a new level. The coastal countries also have response resources in place. However, new developments, such as carriage of modern low-sulphur fuels, require updates and new solutions for response procedures.In other chapters, the assessment informs on developments such as the recent and upcoming increases in sea based aquaculture, wind power, and offshore oil and gas production. The chapter on hazardous submerged objects draws attention to the environmental hazards in the legacy of dumped and lost military material, wrecks, and industrial waste.Groundbreaking data useThe report makes unprecedented use of the regional HELCOM Automatic Identification System (AIS) data, including high-resolution information on vessel movements in the entire sea basin since 2005. The extensive data is especially visible in the chapters related to maritime traffic and fisheries. Besides presenting a large number of maps and illustrations, the report includes a detailed description of the methodology used to extract and create the presented information from raw AIS data.The assessment also synthesises a number of other regional datasets on maritime activities in the Baltic Sea area stemming from regular national reporting to HELCOM. These cover issues such as spills observed via aerial surveillance, maritime accidents, response operations, port reception facilities, progress in hydrographic re-surveys, and aquaculture activities.An example of HELCOM collaborationThe 250-page report is the result of a two-year collaborative effort between the editorial team in the HELCOM Secretariat as well as national experts, providing review and additional material, and regional projects.The report is intended to support the update of the “” as well as to benefit the work of the relevant HELCOM Working Groups. It also enables the HELCOM Contracting Parties (Denmark, Estonia, European Union, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russian Federation and Sweden) to demonstrate achievements, and plan future regional work, on the regional objective “Environmentally friendly maritime activities”, agreed as part of the in 2007. In addition to this traditional publication, a large number of GIS datasets generated in the process, particularly AIS based maps on maritime activities, are released simultaneously for the general public via the (MADS). These maps are anticipated to be interesting and useful for various purposes beyond HELCOM cooperation, including national maritime spatial planning and research. The code used in producing these datasets is also made available for the same purpose via the GitHub platform, to help similar initiatives within and beyond the region.The HELCOM Maritime Assessment 2018 can be accessed at:

(12 MB) The GIS materials and code underlying the assessment can be accessed at:AIS Explorer: HELCOM Map and Data service, e.g. and GitHub:
 * * *Note for editors

is an intergovernmental organization
made up of the nine Baltic Sea coastal countries and the European Union.
Originally established in 1974, its primary aims as a governing body of the
Helsinki Convention (1974/1992) are to protect the marine environment of the
Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution, as well as to ensure safe maritime
navigation. The official name of HELCOM is the Baltic Marine Environment
Protection Commission.HELCOM
works to address environmental effects of human activities on land and at sea.
Its working groups consist of national delegates and observers (industry and
civil society representatives). Groups dealing with measures to address
activities at sea include the HELCOM Maritime, Response, Fish and Pressure
Working Groups.The
drafting of an assessment of maritime activities in the Baltic Sea was agreed
by the coastal countries and EU during the 2013 . For more information, please contact:Hermanni Backer Professional Secretary for Maritime, Response and Fish groups HELCOM Tel:  +358 46 8509199 E-mail: hermanni.backer(at)helcom.fi

HELCOM today releases a comprehensive assessment of maritime activities in the Baltic Sea. The report covers a wide range human activities at sea, from commercial maritime traffic to leisure boating and from fisheries to hazardous submerged objects.