Monitoring the state of the Baltic Sea

The long-term monitoring of the state of the Baltic Sea produces reliable information to support decision-making related to the sea. Finland has just completed the preparation of its new Baltic Sea monitoring programme, which will help to monitor the development of the state of the Baltic Sea and variations in the factors that have an impact on it.

Levää Hangon länsipuolella. Kuva Rajavartiolaitos
Photo: The Finnish Border Guard

The monitoring programme will help monitor, for example, physical and chemical conditions, eutrophication, the state of the sea floor, the prevalence of birds, mammals and fish, the concentrations of hazardous substances, littering and noise. Separate monitoring will also be carried out to track the nutrient load, use of natural resources (such as fishing) and, for example, the load of hazardous substances.

The monitoring programme compiles information from several different research institutions (the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute (RKTL), the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira) and other parties, such as regional environmental authorities, the Finnish Museum of Natural History, Metsähallitus and non-profit organisations. The work is coordinated by the SYKE Marine Research Centre.

Some of the observation points of the monitoring programme are also involved in long-term monitoring, which has produced long time series on the development of water temperature, salinity, oxygen content, nutrients, turbidity, hazardous substances, and plankton and benthic fauna.

Observations from the entire Baltic Sea area are compiled by the SYKE research vessel Aranda in cooperation with the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), among other parties, and from Finnish coastal waters by the research vessel Muikku. Automatic monitoring equipment installed on trade vessels also helps to monitor the surface temperature and salinity of waters and algae concentrations in real-time. On the Finnish coast, Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) also gather information about the state of coastal waters. The status assessments also utilise information produced through satellite imaging.

The Finnish Baltic Sea monitoring programme is coordinated with other countries bordering the Baltic Sea as part of HELCOM cooperation.

The monitoring of the Baltic Sea is a part of the EU’s joint marine management

The Baltic Sea monitoring programme is a part of the implementation of the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive in Finland. The Marine Directive aims to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) for the EU's marine waters. The marine management monitoring programme measures the realisation of environmental goals set and the attainment of good status for the Baltic Sea. The state of the Baltic Sea is assessed every six years. The results of these assessments are used as the basis of a marine management action plan, which includes proposals for improving the state of the Baltic Sea. The action plan will be completed in 2015.

Published 2014-10-14 at 12:42, updated 2018-06-25 at 16:21