WWF Baltic Ecoregion conservation plan
Although the Baltic Sea appears on a world map as a small sea, it is the planet’s second largest body of brackish water, characterised by a delicate mixture of salt water coming in from the North East Atlantic sea and fresh water coming in from rivers, rainfall and infiltration.
Due to its specific geographical, climatic and oceanographic features, the Baltic Sea is highly sensitive to human activities which are taking place both at sea and in its catchment area, which is home to some 85 million people.
Today the Baltic Sea is one of the most threatened marine ecosystems on the planet. More than 50% of the commercial fish stocks are overfished. Eutrophication affects 70% of all listed biotopes. Moreover, the health and diversity of all marine species are affected by industrial, municipal and agricultural pollution, as well as increased sea and land-based transport, and continued clearing of forests and drainage of wetlands.
WWF has identified the Baltic Sea as one of the priority Ecoregions in Europe. The action plan agreed by WWF and partner organisations in nine different countries includes integrated land, coastal and marine activities to strengthen the local and regional capacity to achieve sustainable ecosystem-based management of the Baltic Sea’s resources. Ecosystem Management is a broad scale approach to biodiversity conservation. It seeks to integrate conservation and development by taking a strategic approach with all stakeholders to develop common goals and mutually supportive activities for the conservation and restoration of natural habitats.
Sustainable management will improve ecosystem health and biodiversity while providing social and economic benefits to farming, coastal and fishing communities and sectors such as eco-tourism.
Global biodiversity loss and the increasing contamination of water worldwide represent one of the key problems for sustainable development in the 21st century. Successfully addressing the water challenge in the coming century will require extra efforts.
WWF is ready to take on the challenge and work together with individuals, communities, governments and the private sector to revive the biological diversity of the Baltic Sea.