A little salt
The Baltic is the youngest sea on our planet, emerging from the retiring ice masses only some 10,000-15,000 years ago.It is also the world's largest body of brackish water (it has more salinity than freshwater but not as much as seawater), connected to the ocean waters of the North Sea only through the narrow and shallow straits between Denmark and Sweden.
This unique ecosystem is home to a diverse array of species, such as Baltic ringed seals and harbour porpoises. Fish species include cod, herring and salmon. And tens of millions of migratory birds stop here twice a year, including the Arctic tern, divers and long-tailed duck.
A lot of problemsBut, the Baltic Sea is one of the world’s most threatened marine environments.
Overfishing, oil spills and land-based pollution, particularly high levels of nutrients, from agriculture and industry continue to negatively impact this fragile sea.
WWF and partner organizations in the nine coastal countries bordering the Baltic Sea are working together to address these threats.
Through innovative solutions, we aim to improve the sea's health and biodiversity while providing long-term social and economic benefits to farming, coastal and fishing communities.
Turning adversity into opportunity: A business plan for the Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is one of the busiest maritime areas in the world.
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Protecting Baltic Sea seals
In the early 20th century, the ringed seal population of the Baltic Sea was estimated at 180,000. Today, there are just 7,000-10,000. Grey and harbour seal numbers are also in a precarious state. Although some populations have slightly increased, overall they continue to be threatened.
In Finland, WWF is working to protect Baltic seals by establishing marine protected areas along the coast. The species are also protected through legislation by various countries within their range.