The poor cyanobacterial situation at sea has improved somewhat, small amounts of cyanobacteria in lakes

Press release 2022-07-28 at 13:16
Cyanobacterial rafts in the Gulf of Finland are visible in satellite images taken on Monday 25 July 2022.
In the Gulf of Finland, cyanobacterial observations are centred on the open sea to the west of Hogland. Satellite observation from Monday, 25 July 2022.

The national cyanobacterial situation has improved slightly since last week. The number of cyanobacterial observations in lakes has diminished as a result of the windy and rainy weather, and the situation in inland waters is still better than usual. The poor cyanobacterial situation in sea areas has also improved somewhat, but more cyanobacteria have still been observed than on average in recent years. Observations have been made especially in coastal areas of the Archipelago Sea.

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SYKE observes the cyanobacteria occurrence as part of the monitoring of the state of the environment

The national cyanobacterial monitoring is carried out as part of the monitoring of the state of the environment in cooperation with the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres), municipal environmental and health authorities and the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). Finnish Rotary Clubs are also actively involved in nationwide cyanobacterial monitoring.

Information on the cyanobacterial situation in the open sea areas is mainly obtained from satellite images, but also from the Finnish Border Guard, the marine research vessel Aranda, the optical device located at the Utö Atmospheric and Marine Research Station, as well as cruise and merchant ships (MS Finnmaid and MS Silja Serenade) equipped with Alg@line measuring equipment. The drift forecasts for cyanobacterial rafts in open sea areas are prepared in cooperation with the Finnish Meteorological Institute's Maritime Services.

The cyanobacterial monitoring is based on the monitoring of cyanobacterial deposits in surface water, and the intention is to provide an overview of the cyanobacterial situation in different water bodies. The monitoring includes about 400 permanent observation sites across the country on inland and coastal waters and in the archipelago.

SYKE reports on the national cyanobacterial situation on a weekly basis every Thursday from the beginning of June until the end of August. The weekly algal reporting on the national cyanobacterial monitoring was launched in 1998.

Several compounds produced by cyanobacteria can cause health hazards

According to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), cyanobacterial occurrences can cause health hazards. Cyanobacteria produce a number of different compounds that can cause symptoms. Some cyanobacteria can produce liver or nerve toxins, but most of the symptoms experienced by swimmers may also be due to other compounds.

Small children and pets should particularly be kept out of water rich with cyanobacteria. Water with cyanobacteria should not be used in a sauna or as washing or irrigation water. If you suspect a poisoning, seek medical advice or take the pet to a veterinarian. If necessary, the Poison Information Centre will provide additional instructions.

The municipal health authorities monitor the cyanobacterial situation on beaches.

Report your cyanobacterial observations to the Järvi-meriwiki (Lake and sea wiki)

In Järvi-meriwiki, maintained by the Finnish Environment Institute, you can establish your own observation site and share cyanobacterial observations or make individual observations when moving around waterways. You can also report observations via the smartphone-friendly Havaintolähetti website. The reported observations are shown on the national cyanobacterial observation map, and they support the national algal situation assessment. Observations about the absence of cyanobacteria are also important.

Järvi-meriwiki is an online service produced in collaboration with authorities and citizens. The service provides basic information on all lakes larger than one hectare as well as different areas of the Baltic Sea. Users can share, for example, photos and other observations on the service.

Municipalities and cities monitor the cyanobacterial situation on the beaches, so it is advisable to report rich cyanobacterial occurrences on beaches to the health authorities of the municipality in question.

Cyanobacterial observations also in the Itämeri.fi and vesi.fi services

The cyanobacterial maps presented on the websites MarineFinland.fi and Vesi.fi combine the observations reported to the Järvi-meriwiki and from the beaches of the City of Helsinki, as well as the observations based on satellite interpretations made by SYKE during the last three days.

This is how you identify cyanobacteria

A small amount of cyanobacteria in the water appears as green or yellowish particles. Narrow stripes of algae can drift to a beach. In calm weather, a substantial amount of cyanobacteria forms greenish or yellowish algal rafts and piles up in coastal water. In spring, yellowish pollen from coniferous trees may also be present in the water. Unlike cyanobacteria, pollen is found not only on the surface water but also, for example, on piers or yard furniture.

Cyanobacteria dissolve into tiny particles in the water if you touch the algal mass with a stick. If the algae become attached to the stick, they are something other than cyanobacteria. In a water vessel, cyanobacteria rise to the surface as tiny greenish particles within about an hour.

Algae bloom risk analysis

Information about algae situation 

Satellite observations

More information

(Telephone 1 pm to 3 pm)

Lakes

  • Head of Unit Satu Maaria Karjalainen, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, tel. 0295 251 262, firstname.lastname@syke.fi (until 29.7.)
  • Senior Research Scientist Kristiina Vuorio, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, tel. 295 251 757, firstname.lastname@syke.fi (from 1.8.)

Sea areas  

Coastal cyanobacterial observations

  • Trainee Jonna Kangas, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Tel. 0295 252 267, firstname.lastname@syke.fi (until 29.7.)
  • Researcher Teresa Camarena, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Tel. 295 251 093, firstname.lastname@syke.fi (until 29.7.)
  • Researcher Hanna Piepponen, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Tel. 040 182 3334, firstname.lastname@syke.fi (from 1.8.)

Offshore cyanobacterial observations

  • Eotuki@syke.fi
  • Leading Researcher Jenni Attila, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Tel. 0295 251 078, firstname.lastname@syke.fi (until 29.7.)
  • Researcher Sakari Väkevä, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Tel. 0295 252 088, firstname.lastname@syke.fi (from 1.8.)

State of the Baltic Sea

  • Senior Research Scientist Seppo Knuuttila, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Tel. 0295 251 286, firstname.lastname@syke.fi (from 25.7.)
  • Senior Research Scientist Louise Forsblom, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Tel. 0295 251 013, firstname.lastname@syke.fi

Communications

  • Communications Trainee Vilma Ruponen, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Tel. 0295 251 039, firstname.lastname@syke.fi (until 29.7.)
  • Communications Coordinator Saara Sivonen, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Tel. 0295 251 082, firstname.lastname@syke.fi (from 1.8.)