The Living Baltic Sea
Marine Environment Protection
More protected areas in the Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is home for unique species but only a third of the most diverse underwater environments are currently protected. The Living Baltic Sea project raises awareness on marine biodiversity. It also makes the marine protection process easier for the owners of biologically diverse water areas.
The Living Baltic Sea
2019 – ongoing
Persons in charge
Finnish Environmental Institute, Metsähallitus, Tvärminne Zoological Station, Åbo Akademi, Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, the Ministry of Environment and the VELMU programme
Protecting the treasures of coastal waters
The Finnish Inventory Programme for the Underwater Marine Environment (VELMU), led by the Finnish Environmental Institute, has identified the Baltic Sea’s shallow coastal waters as especially rich in species and habitats. Most of these water areas are privately owned. Therefore, it is important to inspire private landowners to protect the sea’s biodiversity and act responsibly in their water areas.
Increasing the amount of marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Baltic Sea makes a difference: the current level of protection could be doubled by a one percent increase in MPAs, if the new MPAs are situated correctly.
The Living Baltic Sea project offers landowners instructions on establishing an MPA in their water area.
Private protection through the Gullkrona pilot
The water area around Gullkrona island in the Archipelago Sea acts as the project’s pilot. The area hosts a variety of important species, including bladder wrack, blue mussels and eelgrass, which are all essential for the Baltic Sea.
The protection process in Gullkrona was carried out in collaboration with the area’s over 20 landowners. The protected area was established in the October of 2022.
The largest private MPA is established
The largest private marine protected area in the Archipelago Sea was established in the Gullkrona waters in 2022. The size of the protected area is 4800 hectares.
The Gullkrona pilot was done in collaboration with Metsähallitus, Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, Finnish Environmental Institute and the Ministry of Environment.
The course to save marine nature organized for the first time
In the spring of 2022, BSAG took experts in environmental governance, decision-makers and journalists to Gullkrona island for the Course to save marine nature.
The day’s aim was to inspire and inform attendees on how to promote marine protection both as professionals and private citizens.
Unanimous decision by the Gullkrona landowners to establish an MPA
In May 2021, the area’s landowners made a unanimous decision to establish a private marine protected area in the Gullkrona waters.
The goal is to maintain the vitality of the archipelago’s nature and culture. The landowners are experts of the area and know what it takes to live in the archipelago. This is why it was crucial to engage the landowners in the planning process of the protected area from the beginning.
The knowledge on underwater biodiversity has increased, but action is also needed. The Living Baltic Sea project does practical work to advance marine protection, utilizing the results of the magnificent VELMU programme.Anna Klemelä, project manager, marine biodiversity, BSAG