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Frontpage News 2010 Joint efforts to save the Baltic Sea


Joint efforts to save the Baltic Sea

The EEA and Norway Grants contribute €136 million to sustainable development and environmental protection projects in 4 countries bordering the Baltic Sea.

Chemical weapons dating from World War 2 and the Cold War rest on the Baltic Sea's seabed. Combined with a relatively low rate of water exchange, this puts the marine biodiversity and especially the fish stock of the sea at risk. Poisonous algae thrive in the warm and quiet waters during summer, and blue-green algae can reach bathing shores and potentially cause nervous diseases and disorders.

Severely polluted
The Baltic Sea is one of the most polluted seas in the world. Addressing this requires a concerted effort and broad cooperation. In recognition of this, environment ministers from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden convened in Helsinki on February 10 for the Baltic Sea Action Summit to determine how to save the Baltic Sea.

The EEA and Norway Grants support environmental projects in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, countries that all border the Baltic Sea. Of the 190 environmental projects in these countries worth €136 million in grants, several aim to achieve improvements of the water quality in the Baltic Sea.

One example is a Lithuanian-Norwegian research project that will map marine resources and water quality along Lithuania's 90 km coastline. There have been substantial developments along the coastline in recent years, and the project will chart how these developments have affected the marine ecosystem.

A marine resource mapping project also takes place in Estonia. A marine chart will be made of 300,000 hectares along the coastline to bring new knowledge about how to utilise this marine area in a sustainable and environment friendly manner. The marine chart is not only essential to safe navigation, but also to inform fishermen about areas where they can deploy their nets without damaging the ecosystem. The new information will also lay a ground for drawing up new management plans for Natura 2000 protected areas along the Estonian coast.

Photo: Klaipeda University.