Oceanographic Information 4 2 Coastal Geography and Geology 5

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2.5Current Activities

2.5.1Eutrophication and Hazardous Substances

To get a clear overall picture of trends concerning dioxins and PCBs in the Baltic Sea, it is important to integrate studies of human health with the close monitoring of concentrations in the environment and seafood, in order to investigate any linkages. In co-operation with the European Commission, HELCOM have therefore launched the “Integrated Dioxin and PCB Monitoring Pilot Project in the Baltic Region” to collate information from existing and planned national and international dioxin/PCB monitoring activities, including monitoring of the environment, seafood and human health.

A HELCOM Hazardous Substances Project Group has compiled all available data on sources, pathways, markets and the legal situation relating to selected hazardous substances, in order to assess the exposure situation and identify suitable cost-effective measures. Special documents covering mercury, cadmium, short-chained chlorinated paraffins, nonylphenol and nonylphenolethoxylates, dioxins and PCBs have been prepared. These guidance documents are designed to help policy makers to choose the most efficient instruments and measures to eliminate the emissions, discharges and losses of these hazardous substances.
A major study has been conducted to assess progress towards the strategic 50% reduction target for nutrient load reductions. The review shows that the progress in reducing nutrient loads from point sources has been rather good, with the goal achieved for phosphorus by almost all Contracting Parties. But the results also show that measures to reduce nutrients from agriculture have fallen short of their aims. The implementation of agri-environmental measures is expected to promote reductions in nutrient loads from agriculture, but there is evidently a considerable time lag between the implementation of agricultural water protection measures and any visible effects in water bodies.

Pollution Load Compilation. Link to: http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/projectsmeetings.html#pollution.

Data Collection project on hazardous substances. Link to: http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/groupstaskforce/helcomland/data_coll_proj.html.

2.5.2Biotopes and Habitats

HELCOM has produced two major review reports with these goals in mind: a state-of-the-art report on Integrated Marine and Coastal Area Management activities and spatial planning systems in all Contracting Parties and a report on visions and strategies for Integrated Marine and Coastal Area Management in the Baltic Sea Area.

The network of marine and coastal Baltic Sea Protected Areas (BSPAs) has still not been fully implemented. In many cases the Contracting Parties have not yet managed to demarcate BSPAs or prepare management plans, and few concrete steps have been taken to include the 24 proposed offshore BSPAs in the network.
HELCOM is also actively co-operating with the International Baltic Sea Fisheries Commission (IBSFC) to mitigate the environmental effects of fisheries.

Development of a Baltic waterbird monitoring strategy – Pilot Phase: evaluation of available data and conclusion on necessary follow-up activities (Mr. Henrik Skov, DHI Water & Environment) (2002 - 2004).

Development of a Common Approach to Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) within the nine riparian countries around the Baltic Sea (Mr. Alan Pickaver, EUCC-Coastal Union) (2002 – 2003).
Project on Seals (Mr. Palle Uhd Jepsen, Denmark) (1998 – 2001).
Save the Common Sturgeon in the Baltic Sea. Link to:

Database on Alien Species in the Baltic Sea. Link to:


2.5.3Navigational Safety and Oil Spills

A Joint IMO/HELCOM/EU Workshop assessed progress on the work implementing the measures proposed in the HELCOM Copenhagen Declaration. While noting that the main elements of the HELCOM Copenhagen Declaration have already been successfully implemented, the Joint Workshop stressed that there is still a need for continued commitment on a broad regional level towards achieving full implementation of all measures. The establishment of a joint monitoring system for maritime traffic in the Baltic Sea will both promote the implementation of established EU regulations, and set an example for other regions to follow.

Three Expert Groups have been established to examine the usefulness and feasibility of three potential measures to improve navigational safety: mandatory pilotage in specified high risk areas, a special transit route running right through the Baltic for ships carrying oil and other potentially harmful substances and, new regulations specifically for winter shipping traffic.
An investigation was conducted into the possible designation of the Baltic Sea as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA). The investigation concluded that the main benefits of PSSA designation would be a higher level of environmental awareness within the maritime industry concerning the sensitivity of the Baltic marine environment. This in turn could increase the compliance rate with existing measures. It has not been possible to reach an agreement to apply in IMO for PSSA status for the Baltic Sea.
Co-operation on preparing to respond to serious pollution incidents is one of HELCOM’s important activities. The annual joint HELCOM exercise was arranged in Finland in September 2003. 15 ships, several smaller boats, an aircraft and more than 50 observers from the HELCOM Contracting Parties participated in the international oil response exercise.

The Implementation of EUROCRUDE in the Baltic (2000- ongoing). Link to: http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/projectsmeetings.html#eurocrude.

Assesment of the Risk for Oil Spills in the Baltic Sea Area (finalized in 2002). Link to: http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/projectsmeetings.html#oilspills.

Establishing an Information System on Port Reception Facilities in the Baltic Sea Area (finalized in 2004). Link to: http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/projectsmeetings.html#infoport.

2.5.4Management of the Coastal Marine Environment

The Baltic Sea Regional Project

Cost: $12 million (World Bank, on behalf of the GEF, Finland, Norway, Sweden, the United States and the NEFCO)

Partners: HELCOM, International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) and the International Baltic Sea Fisheries Commission (IBSFC).

Period: completed by June 30, 2006


  • Introduce ecosystem-based assessments to strengthen the management of Baltic Sea coastal and marine environments through regional cooperation

  • Reduce the pollution from non-point sources (farms, agricultural activities etc.)

  • Increase sustainable agriculture and fisheries


2.5.5Environmental Monitoring and Reporting

In order to provide scientifically reliable information on the state of the Baltic marine environment, HELCOM co-ordinates monitoring programmes and produces major assessments of pollution loads and the status of the marine environment. The following reports have been finalised: Indicator Reports covering topics from hydrographical background forcing to plankton blooms and pollution loads, “The Baltic Marine Environment 1999-2002” – an overall assessment of the state of the Baltic Sea and a detailed scientific background assessment: “Radioactivity in the Baltic Sea 1992-1998”.

HELCOM is currently reviewing reporting and monitoring procedures. This review takes into account the ecosystem approach to the management of human activities and the need to ensure these activities are compatible with the requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive, pan-European reporting and other such activities. A pilot study into the development of a road map for the establishment of Ecological Quality Objectives (EcoQOs) for the Baltic Sea within HELCOM has been initiated.

Development of ecological quality objectives within HELCOM for the Baltic Sea in the process of regional implementation of ecosystem approach and European Marine Strategy (2003- ongoing).Link to: http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/projectsmeetings.html

Pilot study in the development of a road map for the establishment of ecological quality objectives (EcoQOs) within HELCOM for the Baltic Sea (Ms. Eeva-Liisa Poutanen, Finland (2003 - 2005).
Zooplanktologist expert network (Mr. Lutz Postel, Germany) (2003 – 2005). Link to:http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/projectsmeetings.html#zooplanktologist.
Integrated Dioxin and PCB Monitoring Pilot Project in the Baltic Region” (Ms. Birgit van Tongelen, European Commission). (2003 - 2004).
Ad Hoc Working Group on Sediment Monitoring (Mr. Thomas Leipe, Germany) (2001 - 2004). Link to: http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/projectsmeetings.html#sediment.
Monitoring of Radioactive Substances in the Baltic Sea (MORS) (Mr. Sven P. Nielsen, Denmark) (1996 – 2004). Link to: http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/projectsmeetings.html.
Validation of Algorithms for Chlorophyll Retrieval from Satellite Data for the Baltic Sea Area (Mr. Wolfram Schrimpf, European Union/JRC/IES) (2001 – 2003). Link to: http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/projectsmeetings.html#validation.
Quality Assurance of Phytoplankton Monitoring in the Baltic Sea (Ms. Irina Olenina, Lithuania) (1997 - ongoing). Link to: http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/projectsmeetings.html#quality.
Harmonised International Early Warning Reporting System on Abnormal Events in the Baltic Sea and its Drainage Area (Mr. Hans Dahlin, Sweden) (2000-2003). Link to: http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/projectsmeetings.html#harmonised.
Preparation of the Fourth Periodic Assessment of the state of the marine environment of the Baltic Sea (Mr. Tonny Niilonen, Denmark) (1999 – 2001).
Quality Assurance of Macrozoobenthos Monitoring in the Baltic Sea (Mr. Heye Rumohr, Germany) (1999 – 2001).
For further research projects undertaken in the Baltic Region link to: http://www.giwa.net/areas/area17.phtml.


For a full comprehensive list accompanied by downloadable documents link to:


3.1Regional Seas Reports and Studies

Link to the Regional Seas Reports and Studies: http://www.earthprint.com/show.htm??url=http://www.earthprint.com/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/CategoryDisplay?cgrfnbr=21240&cgmenbr=27973&CGRY_NUM=&next=1

3.2Meeting Reports

For a full comprehensive list accompanied by downloadable documents link to http://www.helcom.fi/dps.html

3.3Website Links

Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (Helsinki Commission) http://www.helcom.fi

EurOcean http://www.eurocean.org/. is a recently created focal point for information in Europe on marine science and technology. The EurOcean Internet portal intends to be an electronic platform of communication and information for all actors with interest in marine science and technology in Europe. One of its functions is to be the IOC regional portal for Europe. Already, the EurOcean portal provides information in three main domains: marine research infrastructures, national and European RTD programmes.

Gateway to Oceanographic and Marine Data and Information in Europe http://www.sea-search.net/

International Baltic Sea Fishery Commission http://www.ibsfc.org/

Stockholm County Administrative Board http://www2.ab.lst.se/infobalt/infooff.htm.
Checklist of phytoplankton in the Skagerrak-Kattegat http://www.marbot.gu.se/SSS/SSShome.htm

Marine Biological Laboratory University of Copenhagen http://www.mbl.ku.dk/.

Danish Environmental Protection Agency http://www.mst.dk/homepage/.

The Danish National Environmental Research Institute (NERI) http://www.dmu.dk/. (in Dutch)

DHI Water and Environment http://www.dhi.dk/.

Links to institutions and websites in Estonia http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/contractingparties/estonia.html.

Links to institutions and websites in Finland http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/contractingparties/finland.html

Links to institutions and websites in Germany http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/contractingparties/germany.html

Links to institutions and websites in Latvia http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/contractingparties/latvia.html.

Links to institutions and websites in Lithuania http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/contractingparties/lithuania.html.

Links to institutions and websites in Poland http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/contractingparties/poland.html.

Links to institutions and websites in Russia

Marine Pollution Control Salvage and Rescue Administration (MPCSA) http://www.morflot.ru/
Oceanography and Marine Environment of the Far Eastern Region of Russia http://www.pacificinfo.ru Marine Oceanographic atlas of the Bering Sea, Okhotsk Sea and Japan/East Sea (full version CD-ROM on web) (http://atlas.pacificinfo.ru);

Hydro-chemical Atlas of the Sea of Okhotsk (US/Russia CD-ROM) (http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/General/NODC-cdrom.html#okhotsk).

V.I.Il’ichev Pacific Oceanological Institute (POI) http://www.pacificinfo.ru and www.poi.dvo.ru
Regional Oceanographic Data Center (RODC), Far Eastern Regional Hydrometeorological Research Institute (FERHRI)http://www.hydromet.com

Primorsky Territorial Office on Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring http://www.primpogoda.ru

The Inter-Institute Center for the Regional Satellite Monitoring (CRSM) of the Environment of the Institute of Automation and Control Processes (IACP), FEB RAS http://www.iacp.dvo.ru
Pacific Scientific Research Fisheries Center (TINRO-Center), State Fisheries Committee of the Russian Federation http://www.tinro-centre.ru and http://www.tinro.ru

Links to institutions and websites in Sweden http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/contractingparties/sweden.html.

Baltic 21 http://www.baltic21.org/
International Baltic Sea Fishery Commission (IBSFC) www.ibsfc.org
Baltic Ports Organisation (BPO) www.bpoports.com.
Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) www.bimco.dk.
For further links to international NGO and governmental organizations: http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/observers.html.



Link to: http://www.helcom.fi/helcom/publications.html.

4Calendar of Events

14-15 June 2004

15th Meeting of Heads of Delegation (HELCOM HOD) in Helsinki, Finland

8-10 September 2004

Fourth Meeting of the Response Group (HELCOM RESPONSE)

[13-14] September 2004

Third Meeting of the Expert Working Group on Transit Routeing (TRANSIT ROUTE EWG) in St. Petersburg, Russia

26-27 October 2004

Eighth Meeting of the Expert Working Group for Mutual Exchange and Deliveries of AIS data (AIS EWG) in Helsinki, Finland

28 October 2004

Lead Party Meeting on Agriculture in St. Petersburg, Russia

[1-3] November 2004

Third Meeting of the Maritime Group (HELCOM MARITIME) in Denmark

1-2 March 2005

26th Meeting of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM 26/2005)


To come


New Chairman: Lithuania took over the chairmanship of the Helsinki Commission on 1 July 2004. Dr. Arturas Daubaras, head of the State Environmental Protection Inspectorate of the Ministry of the Environment of Lithuania will lead, as chairman, the work of HELCOM during a two-year term, until 30 June 2006.


HDR (2001) Human Development Indicators. UNDP United Nations Development Programme. (Accessed 26/03/04) http://hdr.undp.org/reports/global/2003/indicator.

World Bank (2002) World Bank Data Query. (Accessed 19/4/04) http://devdata.worldbank.org/data-query/.

Esping, L. and Grönqvist, G. (1995) A Global Representative System of Marine Protected Areas. Region 6: Baltic. http://www.deh.gov.au/coasts/mpa/nrsmpa/global/volume2/chapter6.html. (Accessed 29/03/03)

UNEP (2001) Ecosystem-based Management of Fisheries. Opportunities and challenges for coordination between marine Regional Fishery Bodies and Regional Seas Conventions. UNEP Regional Seas Reports and Studies No.175.

The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance (2004) http://www.ramsar.org/sitelist.doc. (Accessed 11/06/04)

CIA (2004) CIA World Fact Book (last updated 11/05/04) http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/da.html. (Accessed 24/06/04)

Helcom (2004) www.helcom.fi (Accessed 24/06/04)

1 pycnocline is a layer of water exhibiting a relatively rapid increase in density with increasing depth.

2 halocline is a layer exhibiting a relatively rapid increase in salinity with increasing depth.

3 thermocline is a layer exhibiting a relatively rapid decrease in temperature with increasing depth.

4 A low, nearly featureless tract of land of undulating relief, esp. one formed by long subaerial erosion of land undisturbed by crustal movement, representing the penultimate stage in the cycle of erosion in a humid climate.

5 A reef or rocky island covered by the sea at high tide or in stormy weather.

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