Let‘s protect the Baltic Sea (Anglų įskaita 2010) Nr.2


Baltic Sea Gets Special Protection

One of the world’s most extraordinary seas was finally given the protection it desperately deserves when the International Maritime Organization (IMO) designated the Baltic Sea as a “Particularly Sensitive Sea Area” (PSSA) during its meeting in London on April 2, 2004.

Designating an area as a PSSA requires ships to take special care when navigating through such areas, and enables coastal states and the IMO to agree on the best protective measures. It’s a tool that WWF has long been promoting to protect the Baltic Sea from a major oil accident.

Russia had enlisted the support of Panama and Liberia in an effort to block the proposed designation of the Baltic Sea and two other areas — the Galapagos and the Canary Islands — as PSSAs. Despite this, the PSSA applications for all three areas were accepted by the IMO.

WWF activists played a key role in this success, sending nearly 10,000 emails to urge the United States to support the proposal.

“The enthusiastic response from WWF activists was instrumental in achieving our goals to protect this unique marine environment and its species, such as seals, harbor porpoises, and sea birds from the disastrous effects of oil accidents,” said Päivi Rosqvist, Head of Communications, WWF Finland.

The Baltic is one of the planet’s smallest seas yet one of its busiest in terms of marine traffic, making oil spills a serious threat to this fragile and biologically diverse ecosystem. A major route for migratory birds, the Baltic is also home to marine mammals like grey seals, Baltic ringed seals, and threatened harbor porpoises, and many other creatures. In addition, an oil spill would harm fisheries and tourism, and prohibit the recreational use of the coastal areas for years to come — as occurred with the huge Prestige tanker oil spill off the coast of Spain in 2003.

Designating the Baltic as a PSSA will pave the way for special safety measures to reduce the risk of oil accidents. Moreover, striking a balance between shipping and the protection of the marine environment in the Baltic will contribute to environmentally sound and sustainable maritime transport systems well beyond the Baltic region.

WWF is now encouraging the Baltic Sea states to develop and propose effective associated protective measures to increase the safety of shipping on the Baltic Sea.

Let‘s protect the Baltic Sea (Anglų įskaita 2010) Nr.1

Protection of the Baltic Sea

The Baltic Sea is the youngest sea on the planet and is a unique marine brackish-water ecosystem. It is a semi-enclosed sea and thus highly sensitive to pollution, as there is little exchange of water through the Danish Straits with the neighbouring North Sea. The Baltic Sea also receives heavy pollutant loads from the bordering countries. In addition, the increasing oil transport in the Baltic Sea poses a particular risk to the ecosystem.

Particularly Sensitive Sea Area
In 2005 the Baltic Sea, with the exception of Russian waters and the Russian economic zone, was designated a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The PSSA status includes special protective measures to control international maritime activities. The Baltic Sea has also been defined as a “special area” according to several annexes to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 73/78), which means stricter requirements for maritime transport than in other areas.

Finland’s Programme for the Protection of the Baltic Sea
In 2002 the Finnish Government approved Finland’s Programme for the Protection of the Baltic Sea. In June 2005 the Ministry of the Environment approved an action plan that presents the actions needed to meet the objectives of the programme. By adopting these two instruments, Finland also implements the 1995 Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA) coordinated by UNEP.

According to Finland’s Programme for the Protection of the Baltic Sea, in order to achieve a good ecological state in the Baltic Sea, steps must be taken both nationally and internationally in six main areas. These areas are combating eutrophication, decreasing the risks of hazardous substances, curbing the risks caused by various uses of the Baltic Sea, preserving and increasing biodiversity, increasing environmental awareness, and research and follow-up.

The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) operates its Research Programme for the Protection of the Baltic Sea.

The most serious problem in the Finnish coastal waters is eutrophication. In December 2004, the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development discussed ways and means of reducing eutrophication in the Baltic Sea. A background document was prepared for the meeting entitled “Curbing eutrophication in the Baltic Sea”.

Let‘s protect the Baltic Sea (Anglų įskaita 2010)

Baltic Sea states are still failing to deal with decades of environmental mismanagement in the Baltic Sea, where intense human activity has made it one of the world’s most threatened marine ecosystems, WWF’s Baltic Sea Scorecards report shows.

Home to rich levels of biodiversity and wildlife, the Baltic Sea is a unique marine ecosystem which also sustains the livelihoods and economies of millions of people in the nine coastal countries that call the region ‘home.’

Overfishing, irresponsible shipping, industrial exploitation and pressures from agriculture and forestry continue to negatively impact its sensitive environment. The Baltic Sea today is one of the most threatened marine ecosystems on the planet.

WWF’s 2009 Scorecard examines how Baltic Sea states are planning and managing sea resources and whether they are taking needed steps towards sustainable management.

No country scored the top grade, and only Germany received a B, given its progress in developing maritime spatial plans for its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone moving ahead of the other countries with its plans for the use of its sea waters. Germany is followed by Denmark, Poland, Finland and Sweden which all received a C.

These countries are all in early stages of developing a more integrated approach to sea use management.

‘The report shows that the management varies widely from country to country – and could be described as a bit of a ‘patchwork approach.’ To be able to solve the complex problems of the Baltic Sea the countries and governments must work jointly across sectors and borders,’ said Lasse Gustavsson, CEO of WWF Sweden.

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia all received a grade of D because of a lack of evidence of any real results towards an integrated sea use management.

‘The Baltic Sea is still one of the most threatened seas in the world. Part of the problem facing the Baltic Sea is the ‘free-for-all’ mentality that still governs our use of the sea,’ said Pauli Merriman, Director WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme. ‘If we are to succeed in saving our common sea for the future, we desperately need to work across countries, sectors and departments to achieve a more integrated sea use management and a holistic perspective.’

‘From an ecosystem perspective, such a relatively small sea like the Baltic cannot be treated as simply a collection of national marine areas. It constitutes, in almost all respects, one single marine ecosystem and should be managed as a whole,’ said Pauli Merriman.