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Baltic Sea Protected Areas (BSPA)

In 1994, 62 Baltic Sea Protected Areas (BSPAs) were designated under HELCOM Recommendation 15/5. In 2008, there are 90 designated BSPAs, of which only five have an existing management plan. Since the majority of the protected areas are in coastal waters, there is a growing need to designate sites also in countries' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

In order to harmonise the approaches and the implementation processes for marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Northeast Atlantic and the Baltic Sea, HELCOM and OSPAR have jointly developed a detailed work programme on MPAs, including a concrete timetable for implementation until 2010. This programme was adopted and endorsed by the region’s environmental ministers at the joint meeting of both Commissions in Bremen, Germany, 2003.

During 2005-2006, a HELCOM project on BSPAs  carried out an initial evaluation of the ecological coherence of the Baltic marine protected area network and developed guidelines for the management of Baltic Sea Protected Area.

preliminary assessment of the BSPA network has shown that it cannot yet be described as an ecologically coherent network. However, the goal of HELCOM is to achieve ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas by 2010. According to the preliminary analysis, major gaps in the network are: loss of sites in pelagic waters, poor representativeness of some features of the Baltic Sea, and missing management plans.  

Search the HELCOM BSPA Database for a wide range of information on Baltic Sea Protected Areas. The Database currently contains information on 111 sites, of which 90 are notified and designated by the Contracting States as BSPAs.

Learn more about the Baltic Sea Protected Areas through the recently published HELCOM book Pearls of the Baltic Sea

Baltic Sea Protected Areas in 2008


Last updated: 19 December 2008