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Monday, 16 July 2012 09:39

OCEANA has welcomed the new Chairwoman of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM), Helle Pilsgaard, in her new position, and looks forward to the two-year Danish Chairmanship of the commission.

In a letter addressed to Ms Pilsgaard, Oceana marked its appreciation for plans to tackle the human causes of eutrophication, by setting country-wide nutrient reduction targets and cleaning wastewaters. However, the international marine conservation organisation also emphasised the need to concurrently promote direct actions to safeguard biodiversity.

Better management of both Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and fisheries will have a positive impact on the entire Baltic Sea, help curb the effects of eutrophication, and create more resilient ecosystems.

“Curbing eutrophication should absolutely be one of the primary targets of regional actions,” stated Hanna Paulomäki, Oceana Baltic Project Manager. “It is however equally important, given the troubled state of the Baltic Sea, to work towards creating an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas (MPAs), and better management of fish stocks.”

According to Oceana, the existing network of MPAs in the Baltic is both poorly distributed – failing for example, to cover offshore areas and protect primary benthic habitats – and poorly managed. Destructive fishing practices, like bottom trawling and overfishing, threaten the sensitive ecosystems of the Baltic Sea.

Oceana is looking forward to following the Danish Chairmanship in their work to fulfil the Baltic Sea Action Plan and achieve good environmental status for the Baltic Sea.