BALTIC SEA - Entire Baltic Sea basin - All Baltic countries



Kemal Pınarbaşı HELCOM

Kemal Pınarbaşı

Baltic Sea
Photo by Daniel Spase


Baltic Sea is a transboundary sea basin featuring a fragile ecosystem under multiple environmental pressures induced by human activities both on land and at sea.

In 2021 almost all BSR countries have finalized or are finalizing their maritime spatial plans. 

There are 188 HELCOM MPAs in the Baltic Sea.

For some environmentally sensitive areas (Like Vistula Lagoon entirely included in the NATURA 2000 protected area) separate more detailed (local) plans are being developed in addition to national ones.

Key sectors covered: Fishery, Aquaculture, Tourism, Renewables and mineral extraction.


– The Baltic Sea Action Plan and the regional MSP Roadmap 2021-2030 identify concrete regional targets in relation to biodiversity in line with the EU Biodiversity strategy.

– Certain progress has already been achieved by designating HELCOM MPAs and Natura2000 MPAs

– TRL of individual MSPs in the Baltic Sea Member States is high.

– Already established the HELCOM-VASAB Working Group on MSP and Regional Planners Forum

– Transboundary regional solutions for the management of human activities in the Baltic Sea area can be developed utilizing data on MPAs management plans and information on the potential to designate new MPAs supplied by other regional projects and expert networks.


– Existing MSPs are specifically focused on social aspects of MPAs designation.

– Designation of additional areas is needed to achieve the regional goal.

– Coordinated planning of human activities applying an ecosystem-based approach by all riparian countries in the region needed with the aim to minimize environmental pressure and, at the same time, secure economic growth.

– Considering the transboundary elements in MSP and MPA planning and links with the non-EU countries, the overall TRL level is considered to be 3-4


– Demonstrate how objectives set in the Baltic Sea Regional MSP Roadmap 2021-2030 can be practically achieved through the development of harmonized approaches, network analyses, and transboundary tools and establishing corresponding science-policy dialog, enabling the development of transboundary planning solutions.

– Establishment of the working dialogue with the HELCOM-VASAB Working Group on MSP and Regional Planners Forum to ensure direct communication and support/advice for MSP processes.

– Potential for TRL to increase to 5-6 in the context of MSP4BIO.


National environmental authorities in the Baltic Sea, HELCOM-VASAB Working Group on MSP – mainly focussed on a regional and national level, regional networks such as Regional Planners Forum or HELCOM Task Group on Marine Protected Areas assuring involvement of MPA managers and planners, regional scientific community, NGOs such as WWF, Coalition Clean Baltic. 

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