The Baltic Sea
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.
Setting course towards a sustainable Blue Economy
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.
The Baltic Sea is one of the busiest maritime areas in the world. In its report ‘Future Trends in the Baltic Sea’ WWF highlighted the growth projections for a number of sectors in the Baltic Sea region, almost all of which are set to grow substantially over the next 20 years – some by as much as several hundred percent.
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. We are bound by our vision for “A healthy, diverse and resilient Baltic Sea, sustainably managed for the benefit of people and nature of the region.”
The threats to the ocean are well documented and the solutions are fairly well known. Yet, we continue to take the ocean and its natural resources for granted. We need to begin to see the ocean as an irreplacable and uniquely valuable natural and economic asset. In order to effectively mainstream marine ecosystems into national budgetary and planning processes, we must find a common language that enables common standards by which to value these important ecosystems… read more