The Baltic Sea is one of the planet’s largest bodies of brackish water. A delicate mixture of salt water from the North East Atlantic and fresh water from surrounding rivers and streams blends in a highly sensitive and interdependent marine ecosystem, giving rise to unique flora and fauna. But these special qualities also make it vulnerable.
Why the Baltic Sea matters
The Baltic Sea is surrounded by nine countries that are home to more than 85 million people and diverse political, social and economic realities. Many of these people rely on a healthy Baltic Sea for their food and incomes, and many more treasure it as an important space for nature and leisure activities. Our own futures and the future of the Baltic Sea are inextricably linked.
Threats to the Baltic Sea
Over the past 100 years, the Baltic Sea has degraded quite dramatically. Human pressures such as over-fishing, pollution and now increasingly the effects of climate change are altering the ecological balance and depleting renewable resources beyond safe biological limits. These pressures jeopardize the future use of the Baltic’s vast array of ‘ecosystem goods and services’, provided by nature for free.
What WWF is doing
WWF has been working for several decades to identify solutions for restoring the Baltic to a healthy state. The WWF Baltic Ecoregion Programme is comprised of WWF and longstanding environmental organization partners in each of the nine coastal Baltic Sea countries - Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden. Representing the region’s largest membership network, the programme’s approach has been to work with public and private sector partners toward ensuring a healthy, productive Baltic Sea through sustainable, ecosystem-based management.
The ten organizations who comprise the programme today are bound by their belief that a dynamic regional partnership and collective commitment to implementing innovative solutions will be catalytic to ensuring that the Baltic Sea is once again able to support abundant fish stocks, healthy marine life and thriving coastal communities. Our vision is: “A healthy, diverse and resilient Baltic Sea, sustainably managed for the benefit of people and nature of the region.”