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Adopted 10 March 1994, having regard to Article 13, Paragraph b) of the Helsinki Convention


Guidelines for Management of Baltic Sea Protected Areas (BSPAs); updated and adopted by HELCOM HABITAT 7/2005



RECALLING Article 13 g) of the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea, 1974 Helsinki Convention,

NOTING  Article 15 of the 1992 Helsinki Convention,

BEARING IN MIND the Baltic Sea Declaration (paragraph 14) given in Ronneby 1990 in which the Heads of Governments and High Political Representatives of the Baltic Sea States declared their firm determination to develop a comprehensive programme in Nature Conservation, inter alia, through the establishment of protected areas representing the various Baltic ecosystems and their flora and fauna and the emphasis given to Nature Conservation by the 14th Meeting of the Helsinki Commission and its request to speed up the work (HELCOM 14, paragraph 5.38),

RECALLING ALSO the Recommendations by the International Seminar on the Protection of Sensitive Areas, Malmö, Sweden, 25-28 September 1990, the International Seminar on Nature Conservation and Biodiversity in the Baltic Sea Region, Runö, Sweden, May 1991, the decisions taken at the UNCED conference in Rio de Janeiro 1993, particularly the convention concerning the conservation of biological diversity, signed by all Contracting Parties of the Helsinki Convention, and the Recommendations in "Agenda 21" for coastal nations,

TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the conclusions and Recommendations from the Baltic Sea Regional Seminar, Nyköping, Sweden, 7-11 June 1993 concerning the protection and effective management of coastal and marine protected areas,

BEING AWARE of the fact that the Baltic Sea contains a large number of unique eco-systems, biotopes and species of great natural value,

BEING DEEPLY CONCERNED about the deterioration of the coastal and marine areas and the very poor water quality in some areas brought about by different kinds of human activities which in several respects are increasing due to the political changes in Eastern Europe,

APPRECIATING the measures already been taken by several Baltic Sea countries in order to protect coastal and marine areas,

RECOGNIZING that the establishment of protected marine and coastal areas is seriously lagging behind similar efforts in the terrestrial environment, that existing protected areas are generally few and small, and that their degree of protection is mostly not very high according to the IUCN categories,

ALSO RECOGNIZING the need of a system of selected reference areas throughout the Baltic Sea region where integrated biological monitoring can be carried out,

DESIRING  to protect representative ecosystems of the Baltic as well as to guarantee sustainable use of natural resources as an important contribution to ensure ample provident protection of environment and of biodiversity,

RECOMMENDS to the Governments of the Contracting Parties to the Helsinki Convention:

a)  that the Contracting Parties take all appropriate measures to establish a system of Coastal and Marine Baltic Sea Protected Areas (BSPA). The areas listed in the Attachment, and preliminarily described in Annex 17 to the report of EC 4, are recommended as a first step in establishing such a system. The definite borderlines of the areas will be defined by the countries concerned as soon as possible. The size of such areas shall preferably be more than 1000 hectares,

b)  that this system of BSPA's be gradually developed as new knowledge and information becomes available. Special attention shall be paid to including additional coastal terrestrial areas and to including marine areas outside the territorial waters. To reach this aim the Contracting Parties shall jointly and individually take all necessary steps. Appropriate guidelines for the selection of further areas shall be elaborated by the expert working group EC NATURE incorporating IMO's guidelines for the designation of "Particularly Sensitive Areas";

c)  that before any decisions are made which could lead to major reductions in size, management quality or protection status of a BSPA that is already notified to HELCOM, the Commission shall be notified and be invited within 6 months to express its opinion on the proposed changes;

d)  that management plans be established for each BSPA to ensure nature protection and sustainable use of natural resources. These management plans shall consider all possible negatively affecting activities, such as extraction of sand, stone and gravel; oil and gas exploration and exploitation; dumping of solid waste and dredged spoils; constructions; waste water from industry, municipalities and households; intensive agriculture and intensive forestry; aquaculture; harmful fishing practices; tourism; transport of hazardous substances by ship through these areas; military activities. In some areas a zoning system will be an appropriate means to facilitate the achievement of satisfactory protection. Appropriate guidelines for making such management plans shall be elaborated by the working group EC NATURE incorporating corresponding guidelines of IUCN;

e)  that a monitoring programme be incorporated into the management plans in an appropriate number of these areas including at least monitoring of biological, physical and chemical parameters. The monitoring programme shall be integrated within the Baltic Monitoring Programme of HELCOM,

RECOMMENDS ALSO that the Contracting Parties report to the Commission on the state of establishment and management of the BSPA's in 1996 and thereafter every 3 years,

FURTHER RECOMMENDS that the working group EC NATURE stays in contact with the Contracting Parties for information and cooperation in this matter.



COASTAL AND MARINE AREAS (totally 62 areas)
proposed for the system of Baltic Sea Protected Areas (BSPA)



*      Bornholm

       -  Davids Banke / Hammeren to the north

       -  Ertholmene to the north-east

       -  Dueodde / Salthammer Rev to the south

*      Adler Grund

*      Smålandsfarvandet

       -  North-western Smålandsfarvandet

       -  North-eastern Smålandsfarvandet

       -  Southern Smålandsfarvandet

*      Waters around Saltholm

*      Stavns Fjord and adjacent waters

*      Waters around Hesselø

*      Store Middelgrund

*      Randers Fjord and neighbouring waters

*      Waters around Laesø

*      Waters around Hirsholmene

*      Laesø Trindel / Tønneberg Banke / Kummel Banke

*      Hertha's Flak


*      Lahemaa National Park

*      Matsalu Nature Reserve

*      Kopu Peninsula on Hiiumaa

*      Vilsandi Nature Reserve

*      Hiiumaa Islets

*      Harilaid

Finland / Åland

*      Bothnian Bay National Park

*      Outer Bothnian Threshold Archipelago (The Quark)

*      Oura Archipelago

*      Uusikaupunki Archipelago

*      Southern Archipelago Sea

*      Tammisaari Archipelago - Hankoniemi - Pojo Bay

*      Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park

*      Åland Area: Signilskär / Märket


*      Strelasund Sound / Greifswald Lagoon / Isle Greifswalder Oie / Odra Mouth Area

*      Jasmund National Park

*      Vorpommern Lagoon Area / waters around Westrügen

*      Wismar Bight / Salzhaff Area

*      Graswarder-Westcoast of Fehmarn incl. Flügger Sand

*      Part of Hohwacht Bay with Lagoons

*      Oehe Schleimünde with shallow waters

*      Geltinger Birk and Noor incl. Kalkgrund


*      Northern Vidzeme Region Nature Protection Complex: Coastal section Dzeni-Ainazi

*      Kaltene / Engure Area

*      Lielirbe / Kolka Area

*      Pape / Perkone Area


*      Kursiu nerija (Curonian Spit)

*      Pajuris Regional Park

*      Nemunas Delta Regional Park


*      Vistula Spit Landscape Park (Park Krajobrazowy Mierzeja Wislana) including surrounding water areas

*      Redlowo Reserve (Kepa Redlowska) including surrounding water areas

*      Nadmorski Landscape Park (Nadmorski Park Krajobrazowy) including surrounding water areas

*      Slowinsky National Park (Slowinski Park Narodowy) including surrounding water areas

*      Wolinski National Park (Wolinski Park Narodowy) including surrounding water areas


*      Gulf of Finland National Park (Russian Part)

*      Curonian Spit State National Park

*      Vistula Spit Landscape Park


*      Haparanda Archipelago

*      Bjuröklubbs Area

*      Holmö Islands

*      Trysunda / Ullånger / Ulvöarna / Ulvö Depth

*      Gräsö / Singö - Archipelago

*      Storö/Bockö / St. Nassa / Sv. Högarna / Sv. Björn

*      Landsort / Hartsö / Askö / Landsort Deep

*      St. Anna / Missjö Archipelago

*      Kopparstenarna / Gotska Sandön / Salvorev  Area

*      Torhamns Archipelago

*      Falsterbo Peninsula with Måkläppen

*      Kullaberg

*      Nidingen / Sönnerbergen / Mönster