The Baltic Sea Project

Oceana in the Baltic Sea

Expeditions and Advocacy for the Baltic Sea

The Campaign

In 2011, we opened our Copenhagen office. Here, our team work to promote sustainable fisheries and to improve the network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Baltic Sea and the Kattegat. To achieve this, we combine marine environmental advocacy work with scientific at-sea investigations. Since 2011, we have conducted three Baltic Sea expeditions, leading to concrete proposals for 13 new MPAs in the Baltic Sea and the Kattegat.

Our team of specialists works in the Copenhagen office to protect this unique sea, which covers 377 thousand square kilometres in the North of Europe and is almost entirely surrounded by nine different countries, from IUU fishing and improve the network of Marine Protected Areas. It is a very shallow sea of “brackish” water, water that is less salty than seawater but saltier than fresh water. It receives salty water from a limited exchange with the waters of the North Sea through the Kattegat and Skagerrak and fresh water from more than 200 rivers. The Baltic is rich in biodiversity and species, adapted to those conditions.

Unfortunately the Baltic is at the same time one of the most polluted seas in the world, due to exploitation and economic activities. Unsustainable fisheries are one of the most urgent threats to the Baltic fish stocks.  Destructive fishing practices, like bottom trawling, high levels of by-catch and illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing all lead to the degradation of the marine habitats in the Baltic Sea. An overview on the threats to the Baltic ecosystem was recently published by Helcom, the Helsinki Commission. Besides destructive fisheries, other threats to the Baltic ecosystem include eutrophication, caused by nutrient and phosphorus inflows from industrial agriculture all around the Sea and leading to toxic algae blooms, and the inflow of toxic substances from industrial activities, like dioxin and Persistent Organic Pollutants. Furthermore the seabed is also damaged because of construction works like dredging.

Download our Report on Oceana recommendations on fishing opportunities for 2015 - Baltic Sea Stocks

Baltic Sea Expeditions

Baltic Species at Risk

Marine Protected Areas

Baltic Sea

What Oceana Does

Species at Risk

A rich and varied biodiversity, composed by healthy stocks of marine species, plants and their habitats is crucial for the proper functioning of the Baltic ecosystem. Due to the special conditions of the Baltic, only a handful of the so called “cornerstone” species form the basis of the marine food web. Baltic cod is one of those species for example. Helcom, the Helsinki Commission has published the HELCOM Red list of threatened and declining species of lampreys and fish of the Baltic Sea, where they red-list threatened species with high priority that are important for the ecosystem and that at the same time suffered a biomass decline. In total, 34 species are red-listed with high priority on the Helcom list, because of severe decline mainly provoked by overfishing. Those high-priority species include thirteen different sharks and rays, as well as some highly commercialized fish species like Baltic cod, salmon and autumn spawning herring. Furthermore, also marine mammals that were once frequent in the Baltic are threatened today. The Baltic harbour porpoise suffered severe declines and is often caught accidentally and found dying in fishing nets, chiefly gillnets.


Nyhavn 16 , 4 sal
1051 Copenhagen, Denmark
Phone: + 45 33151160
E-mail: [email protected]

Plaza de España-Leganitos 47
28013 Madrid, Spain
Phone: +34 91 144 08 80 Fax +34 91 144 08 90
E-mail: [email protected]

Rue Montoyer 39
1000 Brussels, Belgium
Phone: +32 (0)2 513 22 42 Fax: +32 (0)2 513 22 46
E-mail [email protected]

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