Presentation on theme: "The state of the Gulf of Finland- gaps in our present knowledge"— Presentation transcript:
1 The state of the Gulf of Finland- gaps in our present knowledge Juha-Markku LeppänenMarine Research CentreSYKEMarine Science for the SocietyTuesday 21 January, Helsinki City Hall, 10.00–12.30
2 Healthy Baltic SeaIt is said that when a man starts to look back he is old.When I am saying that I have a dream – I am not comparing my self to Martin Luther King, since I have many dreams.One of my dreams is very much linked to the past – meaning most probably that I am old, but, in addition, it is linking the past with the future.My dream is the healthy Baltic Sea!I would like to see the Gulf of Finland and the rest of the Baltic in the future as it was when I was a boy:when waters were clear,bladder wrack drifted every autumn into large accumulations on the shores and we used it as fertilizer in our garden, andWhen pikes, perches and eels were plenty.Well, dreams are dreams, now back to my presentation!
3 Content State of the Baltic Sea as assessed by HELCOM Our obligations to protect the GOFWhat do we know about the environmental status of the marine environment and the pressures to affect it?Dream of the healthy Baltic Sea in practiceWhat is good status?What is needed to assess the status?What did we report for the EU MSFD?Gaps in information and knowledge based on the results of the EU-funded GES-REG ProjectLevel of coordinationPossibilities during the GOF YearI am not going to give you an exhausted presentation on the current state of the Gulf of Finland since most of you know the facts better than I do.Instead, I am looking the environmental status of the sea as well as the gaps in knowledge based on my experience in the implementation of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan and the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive.I have not invented anything I am going to say by my self:I am relaying on the results of a just terminated EU-funded project GES-REG and HELCOM Baltic Sea Roof Report, which both scrutinized the implementation of the Directive and the HELCOM BSAP.
4 State of the Gulf of Finland There is lot of knowledge gathered and information published on the state of the GOF.When I made a Google search…Status of the Baltic Sea 3,5 million“Status of the Gulf on Finland”244,0000.22 s“State of the Gulf of Finland”156,0000.15 s“Environment of the Gulf of Finland”98,0000.23 s
5 Obligations Helsinki Convention EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive protect the marine environment of the Baltic Sea from all sources of pollution through intergovernmental cooperationHELCOM Baltic Sea Action PlanPolitical commitment by all Contracting PartiesEU Marine Strategy Framework DirectiveLegally binding for all EU Member StateMaritime Doctrine of Russian Federation 2020Legal document in RussiaDevelopment and conservation of ocean resourcesIntegrated marine scientific researchDevelopment of systems for monitoring the marine environment and coastal areasNot all the assessments and other articles are done on the basis of scientific curiosity.There are also legal obligations for the states surrounding the Gulf of Finlandto monitor the environmental status of our sea as well as the pressures affecting the marine ecosystem as well asObligations to finally reach the GES.
6 What do we know? HELCOM Assessments The basic facts about the state of the Baltic Sea – including the GOF – are well assessed by the HELCOM community and presented in various publications over the years.Well assessed means, however, so well than the data provided by the HELCOM CPs allows
7 State of the Baltic Sea Eutrophication HEAT CHASE BEAT Hazardous substancesEutrophicationBiodiversityEcosystem HealthIn general, the status of the GOF as assessed not good.Blue represents high-confidence, green acceptable and red unacceptable confidence.
8 Dream of the healthy Baltic Sea in practice MonitoringenvironmentandpressuresResearchandscientific adviceDefininggoodstatusAssessingactualstatusManagement cycleExecutingmeasures
9 current and future generations What is “good status”HELCOM BSAP and MSFDA healthy Baltic Sea environment, with diverse biological components functioning in balance, resulting in a good ecological status and supporting a wide range of sustainable human economic and sustainable activities.Good Environmental Status of marine waters provide ecologically diverse and dynamic oceans and seas which are clean, healthy and productive within their intrinsic conditions, and the use of the marine environment is at a level that is sustainable, thus safeguarding the potential for uses and activities bycurrent and future generationsEUTROPHICATIONConcentrations of nutrients close to natural levelsClear waterNatural level of algal bloomsNatural distribution and occurrence of plants and animalsNatural oxygen levelsHAZARDOUS SUBSTANCESConcentrations of hazardous substances close to natural levelsAll fish are safe to eatHealthy wildlifeRadioactivity at the pre-Chernobyl levelBIODIVERSITYNatural marine and coastal landscapesThriving and balanced communities of plants and animalsViable populations of speciesMARITIME ACTIVITIESEnforcement of international regulations – no illegal dischargesSafe maritime traffic without accidental pollutionEfficient emergency and response capabilitiesMinimum sewage pollution from shipsNo introductions of alien species from shipsMinimum air pollution from shipsZero discharges from offshore platformsMinimum threats from offshore installationsBiological diversity is maintainedNon-indigenous species do not adversely alter the ecosystemsPopulations of all commercially exploited fish and shellfish are within safe biological limitsAll elements of the marine food webs occur at normal abundance and diversityHuman-induced eutrophication is minimisedSea-floor integrity not adversely affectedPermanent alteration of hydrographical conditions does not adversely affect marine ecosystemsConcentrations of contaminants are at levels not giving rise to pollution effectsContaminants in fish and other seafood for human consumption do not exceed legislative levelsMarine litter do not cause harmUnderwater noise does not adversely affect the marine environmentIn practice good status is depending on how it is defined.The HELCOM BSAP defines my dream as follows.It is then defined in more details by strategic goals, ecological objectives and finally by indicatorsThe MSFD: my dream is defined as follows and in more details by 11 Descriptors of GES further detailed in criteria and indicators.
10 What is needed? Co-ordination: Criteria for GES Indicators Boundary valuesAssessment toolsMethodsMonitoringDataIn order to make my dream to understandable to all of us we need coordination.
11 What did we report? Different indicators Different GES boundaries BiodiversityAliensDifferent indicatorsDifferent GES boundariesDifferent geographic scalesDifferent assessment methodsFishFood websEutrophicationBenthic integrityHydrographyContaminantsContaminants in fishLitterNoise
13 State of regional coherence – self-assessment by HELCOM Contracting Parties concerning implementation of Articles 8, 9 and 10 of the MSFDGreen: good regional coherence, requiring further development though.Yellow: fair coherence.Red: limited knowledge and insufficient coherence.
14 Gaps in information and knowledge Major knowledge gaps concerninghydromorphology, underwater noise and marine litterimpacts of alien speciesunderwater habitat distribution and statusindicators for the food web statusKnowledge on the hazardous substances is spatially patchy and especially their biological impacts are poorly understoodSet of indicators to assess GES is sparse and variesGeographic assessment scales are varyingAssessment tools are neither fully developed nor agreed upon and still require more coherence with EU policies
15 Level of coordinationNo real coordination for the 2012 reporting on the MSFD implementationHELCOM was not used efficientlyGeneral information exchange on Initial Assessments, determination of GES and GES/sub-GES boundaries, setting of environmental targets and establishing indicators for assessment took placeGES-REG Project provisions were not used fullyPractically no general coordination took place in the actual preparation of the Initial AssessmentsGES determination was not coordinatedHELCOM CORESET was not used efficiently for indicators and boundary settingsJoint HELCOM Assessment and Monitoring Strategy was a success
16 Possibilities during the GOF Year Increased sub-regional cooperation between Estonia, Finland and Russiaplanning of joint monitoring manual and programmeimplementing operational monitoringCo-ordinated, well planned execution of monitoring (GES and pressures)making “new methods” operationalSharing/pooling data without unnecessary delayjoint preparation of assessment on environmental status and pressurescoordinated programme of measures
17 Use HELCOM!Align national approaches to regional agreements accordingly and vice versaCoordinated and timely planning of activitiesInfluence and support the HELCOM’s role in the regional cooperation process and achieve profitsShare research and development work on new GOF Year topics in order toSupport Baltic-wide planning and execution of operational monitoringprovide regional baseline information for assessment of the need and extent of future activitiesInfluence the joint documentation of approaches and results to support HELCOM Contracting Parties in their national and international reporting obligationsMainly addressed to the ministries responsible for planning and financing the work.
18 When I reading the list of research themes during the GOF Year, one can see that most of the gaps will be dealt with.The only thing that I didn’t find out is the monitoring and assessment human pressures especially dealing with the main problem of the area, eutrophication.Then I continued reading and realized with pleasure that eutrophication is the cross-cutting theme and now I am convinced that the Gulf of Finland year is bringing us a step – at least one year – closer to my dream of the healthy Baltic Sea.
19 I would like to wish all the best to you when you will implement the ambitious goals of the GOF Year and I hope that the ambition level will continue in the future and could be used as an good example of cooperation in the Baltic Sea area as a whole!