Completing managament options in the Baltic Sea Region to reduce risk of invasive species introduction by shipping (COMPLETE)

Project number: #R069
Duration: May 2017 – September 2020
Partners: Kotka Maritime Research Association (lead partner), Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, Finnish Environment Institute, University of Helsinki, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences and Keep Archipelago Tidy Association (Finland), Klaipėda University (Lithuania), University of Gdansk (Poland), Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (Germany), University of Tartu (Estonia) and Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology (Latvia)
Funded by: European Regional Development Fund (INTERREG Baltic Sea Programme)
Budget: total budget 3.2 mio €, contribution from European Regioanl Development Fund 2.5 mio €

The major involvement of shipping in uncontrolled introduction of invasive species, i.e. potential harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens (HAOP) remains an unresolved problem, which may have consequences on environment, economies and human health. To address this problem, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ship's Ballast Water and Sediments (BWMC 2004) and, more recently, the Guidelines for the Control and Management of Ships' Biofouling to Minimize the Transfer of Invasive Aquatic Species (2011). At the regional level, the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan (2007) has set the ecological objective ‘No introductions of alien species from ships’.

The management of both ballast water and biofouling of ships is a complex task. The BWMC will enter into force at the 8th of September 2017 and numerous decisions will have to be taken by port state administration and ship owners while implementing the convention. The HELCOM and OSPAR Commissions agreed in 2013 on a joint harmonised procedure (JHP) for BWMC A-4 exemptions to the requirement to treat ballast water based on the IMO Guidelines G7 (2007). The JHP, which aims to ensure a regionally efficient and transparent implementation of the Convention, should be further improved and operationalized regionally. The implementation of the IMO Biofouling Guidelines will help to achieve a ‘win-win’ solution, where the absence of biofouling reduces the risk of potential HAOP introductions, at the same time preventing chemical pollution by antifouling paints and increasing the ships’ performance due to decreased fuel consumption and emissions.

COMPLETE is tackling several gaps and proposing operational frameworks and actual tools: measures on how to take into account rights and obligations of involved stakeholders; developing effective risk assessment procedures for ballast water management exemptions; ensuring active regional cooperation and information exchange of HAOP findings; proposing the integrated regional non-indigenous species (NIS) monitoring system and surveillance for compliance control with ballast water management standards. The target groups are national ministries and agencies of transport and environment; ship owners and their associations; Baltic Sea ports and coastal municipalities; shipyards; marinas and boating associations; HELCOM and its contracting parties. The associated project partners represent the key target groups benefiting from the project outputs.

COMPLETE is addressing one of the key challenges of the BSR with the ultimate goal to develop operational frameworks and provide user-oriented tools to make shipping more environmentally friendly and, whenever possible, without placing an unnecessary burden on the shipping industry.

Henn Ojaveer
mobiile: +372 5158328







Duration: October 2017 - September 2020
Partners: County Administrative Board in Stockholm, Royal Institute of Technology and Haninge municipality in Sweden, Baltic Environmental Forum Estonia, University of Tartu and NGO Estonian Fishing Tourism in Estonia, Kurzeme Planning Region, Institute of Food Safety, Animal Health and Environment - “BIOR” and Ventspils Regional Municipality in Latvia, Klaipeda University and Fishery service under the ministry of Agriculture of the republic of Lithuania in Lithuania, National Marine Fisheries Research Institute and Tourist Association "Northern Kashubia" Local Tourist Organisation in Poland and Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission HELCOM in Finland
Total budget: 3,221,336.40€
European Regional Development Fund: 2,620,136.21€
Project no.: #R065




The coastal fishing tourism industry in the BSR has been identified as a sector with great potential for growth and sustainable jobs. It offers opportunities for rural jobs, diversification of the fishery sector and prolonged tourism season. However, in order to fully exploit the economic potential, there is a need to address the key challenges currently limiting the development of the sector, explicitly:
• Weak capacity of the fishing tourism sector to meet the customers’ demand.
• Weak governance framework that in many cases is counter-productive for fishing tourism.
• Weak management of ecosystem services, to underpin the fishing tourism industry.

The project aims at enabling the target groups to develop and promote sustainable coastal fishing tourism and simultaneously advance integrated implementation of CFP, WFD, MSFD and HELCOM recommendations, by addressing these key challenges.
The target groups, identified as instrumental to leverage this tourism sector, are SMEs (sport fishing service providers, fishing guides) and their associations, regional authorities, coastal municipalities, and tourist boards.
These target groups will benefit from the main project outputs i.e.:
1. STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT PLANS FOR NEWTOURISMPRODUCT AT 5 DEMONSTRATION SITES, to be used as planning documents for post-project activities and to attract new financial resources by the local clusters.
2. MODEL PROCESS FOR DESTINATION DEVELOPMENT FOR COASTAL FISHINGTOURISM, to be used as educational product by key target groups - fishing/fisheries associations and coastal municipalities.
3. THE BALTIC TROUT DESTINATION MANAGEMENT SERVICE. The joint eco-branding and web-portal for on-line marketing and booking services will improve market access and performance of the transnational network of fishing guides, tourist boards and coastal municipalities.
4. TRANSNATIONAL ACTION PLAN FOR FISHINGTOURISM, which will provide guidance to the national authorities to foster sustainable growth and jobs through appropriate policy and regulatory adjustments.
5. "BEST PRACTICE” SOLUTIONS FOR EFFICIENT RIVER RESTORATION MEASURES FOR SEATROUT, disseminated through the demonstration projects and the Baltic Toolbox on River Restoration, which will provide guidance to national and regional authorities, on best practice (e.g. on communication) and restoration solutions that enhance eco-system health, are economically viable and efficient for production of fish stocks.

More information:
Martin Kesler
+372 56278606



BalticRIM_poster 2018



Plan4Blue (Maritime Spatial Planning for Sustainable Blue Economies)

Click on Logo to Plan4Blue project webpage!

University of Tartu (Estonian Marine Institute and School of Economics and Business Administration) is an acting partner in the Plan4Blue project (Maritime Spatial Planning for Sustainable Blue Economies).











Plan4Blue brings together the key blue growth and maritime spatial planning actors from Estonia and Finland to identify pathways to sustainable use of the sea areas and resources. The collaborative process analyses economic potential of the scenarios and identifies environmental risks and management options.

Plan4Blue project main aim is to support the growth of marine and maritime sectors in a way that emphasizes the need to find a balance between economic, social and environmental goals.The project activities focus on Gulf of Finland and Archipelago Sea areas covering sea areas of Estonia and Finland.

The main activities and outputs are:
• to develop cross-border Maritime Spatial Planning objectives, planning options and a framework for continuous collaboration
• to produce together Blue Economy scenarios and to conduct spatial analysis of potentials and risks of Blue Economy.
• to develop guidelines for multidisciplinary analyses and stakeholder process to support Maritime Spatial Planning

This project has a total budget of about 2 million euros, receiving funding from the EU Interreg Central Baltic Programme. The budget set up by The University of Tartu is 453.400 euros including the 68.010 euros of co-financing by Estonian Environmental Investment Centre. The project is carried out between Oct 1st, 2016 and Dec 31st, 2019.

The Finnish Environment Institute is the leading partner of the Plan4Blue project. Other partners are University of Turku (Centre for Maritime Studies, Turku School of Economics, Department of Geography and Geology); Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council; Regional Council of Southwest Finland; Baltic Environment Forum Estonia. Associated partners are The Estonian Ministry of Finance and the county administrations of Lääne-Viru, Harju and Ida-Viru. Additionally, a broad collaboration takes part between the stakeholders of maritime spatial planning.


Baltic Blue Growth ­ Initiation of full scale mussel farming in the Baltic Sea
Duration: 2016 May – 2019 April; Budget: 382 389,30

The Baltic Sea is facing many challenges; one of the most serious problems is the eutrophication. The objective of Baltic Blue Growth (BBG) is to remove nutrients from the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) by farming and harvesting blue mussels. This may be a standalone measure to counteract eutrophication but can also become a business for the feed industry and be used in symbiosis with fishfarms, so called IMTA (Integrated Multi­Trophic Aquaculture). The mussels themselves are less appropriate for human consumption mainly due to the small size and can instead be used in the feed industry and replace i.e. imported fish­ and soybean meal. Previous projects have shown that mussel farming in the Baltic Sea is feasible and beneficial to the environment. This project aims to proceed from pilot stage to real cases and build up an awareness and capacity concerning blue growth and mussel farming among private and public sector. The project will follow 4 focus farms and 2 test farms where environmental, legal, commercial and maritime spatial planning (MSP) issues are clarified. The partners cover the essential target groups needed for such a wide range of interest and competence areas such as mussel farmers, authorities, related associations, research organisations and commercial partners.
The main outputs of the project will be models and functional decision support tool based on environmental data collated from focus farms. Further outputs are 4 fully operational mussel farms which contribute to business plans and manuals for mussel farmers in general. Different technology for farming mussels in BSR­conditions will be tested and collated. Status report on legislation issues for mussel farming will be conducted. The project will also give recommendations for harmonized methodology in Maritime Spatial Planning and possible compensation measures. These outputs will be used by maritime spatial planners, potential mussel farmers and investors, fish farmers, technology provider, coastal population, international organisations and strategies (i.e. HELCOM, Baltic Sea Action Plan, EU strategy for the Baltic Sea Region etc.), regulatory authorities, policymakers, national and international bodies responsible for marine environment.
By the end of the project the aim is to have developed mussel meal for animal feed, going through the whole chain from mussel farmers, technique providers, logistic solutions via a well worked through design for the mussel meal production line to finally have approved tests on animals for using mussel meal as a feed ingredient.
By the Baltic Blue Growth project we expect to make a change in the Baltic Sea Region whereas mussels will be considered as an efficient way for counteracting eutrophication, a compensation scheme will be accepted for the ecosystem service provided by the mussels, mussel farming will be an attractive market for entrepreneurs to enter and mussel meal will be produced as ingredient in animal feed.



The BONUS STORMWINDS project aims to contribute science-based analyses and practice-oriented tool developments for enhancing maritime safety and accident response, during winter in the northern Baltic Sea.



Baltic LINes

The project aims to increase transnational coherence of linear infrastructure, e.g. shipping routes and energy corridors, in Maritime Spatial Plans in the Baltic Sea Region. This prevents cross-border mismatches and secures transnational connectivity as well as efficient use of Baltic Sea space.

The project is financed by Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme and will last from March 2016 till February 2019. 

More information about Baltic LINes
Project poster 
What it is about ?



Euroopa kalandsufondi projektid

Poolsiirdekalade kudealad Väinameres ja Liivi lahe põhjaosas: seisund ja kvaliteedi parandamise võimalused

ABSTRACT (Duration: 2012 October – 2015 June; Budget: 198375 euro)
The aim of the project was to study, which spawning rivers contribute most to the stocks of pike, ide and burbot inhabiting Väinameri Sea, as well as to find out where restoration activities (opening of the rivermouths clogged up by dense river beds etc.) are meaningful. Most of the Väinameri pikes were caught closer than 10 km to their home (birth) rivers, but, according to the otolith analyse, some migrated almost 50 km, which is fully new information. It was also revealed, that more than 90% of pikes caught from Väinameri were born in fresh waters, which indicates a change – some decades ago their share was much bigger. Only around Saarnaki island brackish-water spawning pikes still dominated. The results of the study showed that for all three studied species spawning rivers of Läänemaa County (mainly these flowing into Matsalu and Haapsalu bays) are the most important. For the pike fresh waters of Saaremaa (R. Võlupe and L. Järveküla) followed in significance, but for ide second most important area was Käina Bay (Hiiumaa). Report of the project presents data about the situation (quality) of all spawning rivers, which contribute to the recruitment of the Väinameri fish stocks, based on the suitability for the three main species. Also, the detailed suggestions for restoration are listed. Besides filling all the applied aims of the project, the results have been published in four pre-reviewed scientific journals.



T. Paalme
Lepingu vastutav täitja


Inventory and development of monitoring programme for nature values in Estonian marine areas (NEMA).

Leading expert: Georg Martin;
Project manager: Kristina Tiivel;







ECOSEAL - kas jätkusuutlikud imetajapopulatsioonid
saavad eksisteerida koos elujõulise kalandusega?
ECOSEAL - Balancing between sustainable seal
population management and fisheries)

Läänemere hallhülge arvukus on viimastel aastakümnetel tõusnud. Paralleelselt sellega on kasvanud loomade poolt rannakalandusele tekitatud kahju. Samas upub igal aastal mõrdades märkimisväärne kuigi paraku täpselt teadmata arv sinna kerget saaki otsima läinud loomi. Niisiis on konflikt kahepoolne. Hukkunud loomade arvu ja vanuselise ning soolise jaotuse väljaselgitamine oligi üks projekti ECOSEAL peaülesannetest. Teiseks tähtsaks teemaks oli uurida hüljeste toidueelistusi ning selles esineda võivaid ajalisi ja ruumilisi erinevusi. Erinevate meetoditega (toidujäänused seedekulglas, rasvhapete analüüs, isotoop- ja DNA-analüüs) võrreldi Soome, Rootsi ja Eesti loomi. Andmed loovad senisest täpsema pildi hallhülge ökoloogilisest rollist Läänemeres. Lisaks eeltoodule anti täpne hinnang hülgekahjudele ning analüüsiti erinevaid võtteid kuidas kahjusid vähendada sealjuures populatsiooni elujõulisust kahjustamata. Täpsem info ja uurimistulemused on esitatud projekti kodulehel
Projekti toetavad INTERREG IV A Programm ja Keskkonnainvesteeringute Keskus.


KESTA - The status of marine biodiversity and its potential futures in the Estonian coastal sea



Fisheries ‘holy trinity’ feature in new film

GAP2 video showcases value of collaboration in European fisheries management.

@GAP2_project #GAP2TheMovie #BridgingTheGap

“Our hopes for the future are not only to grow the red shrimp fishery, but to grow it sustainably” Conrad Massaguer, Spanish Skipper in the Palamós fishery

Is working with others and taking responsibility the simple solution to sustainable fishing? The GAP2 project answers an emphatic ‘yes’ to this question with the release of a striking new 6 minute feature film, showcasing the project’s work on bringing together fishers, scientists and policy makers in fisheries across Europe.

Focussed upon one of 13 GAP2 research case studies, the video, ‘Bridging the Gap’, follows Norwegian anthropologist, Maiken Bjørkan, as she introduces the collaborative co-management of the Mediterranean Red Shrimp fishery in Palamós, Spain.

Featuring interviews with local fisherman and Skipper of the Nova Gasela, Conrad Massaguer, and Catalán regional policy maker Rosario Allue, the short film explores the successful development of a regional management plan for the valuable red shrimp fishery – a plan endorsed and commended by the regional government.

Watch the film HERE.

The video shows how the ‘bottom-up’ process used to develop the long-term management plan has laid the foundations for success: involving the fishing community in all stages of the design and implementation of measures to improve sustainability. A strong relationship between scientists and fishers in the Palamós fishery and the investment of the regional administration in the management planning process have both contributed to Palamós’ success. Catalán Chief of Service for Marine Resources, Rosario Allue, even has her own set of fisher’s galoshes, and can be seen in the film inspecting and sorting the catch alongside Conrad’s crew.

Rosario comments: “I started working with the GAP2 project four or five years ago. They had reached a level of collaborative working and mutual understanding, and the regional government here couldn’t remain at the margins”

The message of ‘Bridging the Gap’ – that collaboration between fishers, scientists and policy makers is not only possible, but can lead to fruitful long-term working partnerships – reflects the findings of a four year international research project – GAP2– funded by the European Commission, investigating the value of fishermen, scientists and other stakeholders working together to better understand fisheries management for long-term sustainability. (Find out more at 

The film demonstrates how collaboration between the ‘holy trinity’ of partners required to develop and implement a fishery management plan is considered essential to sustainable fisheries management, by the people involved.  

Aimed at informing the EU policy community, and other key fisheries stakeholders, of the value of collaborative working for sustainability, the video is available on the GAP2 YouTube channel at:

For further information, including images and quotes, please contact: Katrina Borrow, katrina at mindfullywired dot org


Notes to editors

-          GAP2 is a Europe-wide research project investigating how fishermen and scientists can better work together towards more sustainable fisheries. The project is funded by the European Commission, is running from 2011 to 2015 and is centred around 13 case studies of working science-fishery partnerships in action, spread throughout Europe. Find out more by visiting our website ( or by contacting Katrina Borrow (see above for contact details)






Can't wait to share #GAP2TheMovie with followers next week on #launchday - look out for it on 10th June! #ComingSoon #collaboration 

Do you know what #GAP2 is all about? Want to learn more about how the project works? Look out for #GAP2TheMovie #comingsoon - 10th June!

Check out this blog from Comms Officer @TrinaBorrow on #GAP2TheMovie...which is launching next week! #ComingSoon

@GAP2_Project has put together a fabulous film on the ethos behind the project & a case study in #Spain - launches 10th June! #GAP2TheMovie

Can't wait 2 share the great #BridgingTheGap film that @GAP2_Project have made on collaboration in fisheries management. Look out 10th June!

#ComingSoon to a Twitter feed near you....#GAP2TheMovie "Bridging The Gap" - all about collaborating for #sustainable fisheries! #LookOut

Amazing shots of the #RedShrimp #GAP2 case study in the soon-to-be released #GAP2TheMovie: look out for it next week, launching 10th June :)

Want to read more about the #GAP2 #RedShrimp case study before seeing it featured in #GAP2TheMovie next week? #fish


GAP2 have created a stunning short film to showcase and explain the project’s collaborative work in fisheries across Europe. The big launch day is coming up – it’s June 10th next week! In the run-up, you can read this blog on the filming of ‘Bridging The Gap’:

If you’re on Twitter, be sure to follow #GAP2TheMovie this week and look out for the new fisheries film from the GAP2 Project - #comingsoon!! Find out more here:


GAP2 is getting ready to launch a sunning short film, showcasing the project’s work developing collaborative partnerships for more sustainable fisheries. Read about filming for the video here: and find out more about the featured case study here:




@GAP2_Project has launched a great new video, exploring how #collaboration can lead to #sustainable #fisheries: 

Check out the new video from #GA2 - 'Bridging the Gap' Beautiful shots of #shrimp #trawling in the Med #GAP2TheMovie

#GAP2TheMovie is finally here! You can watch it NOW here: #BridgingTheGap #collaboration

How can we make EU #fisheries more #sustainable? By working together! New #GAP2TheMovie here: #FP7 #collaboration


We are delighted to share the GAP2 Project’s latest short film with you: ‘Bridging the Gap’ explores GAP2’s Mediterranean Red Shrimp case study, and how collaborative working can help us build more sustainable fisheries across Europe. You can check it out here:

Have you seen the new short feature film from the GAP2 Project? No? Check it out here: Beautiful shots of shrimp trawling in the Med, and some great interviews about the importance of participatory research!



The GAP2 project has released a striking short film, exploring the importance of collaboration in building sustainable fisheries, including some stunning footage of the project’s Mediterranean Red Shrimp case study. You can watch the film here:








Project objectives
: to develop concepts for assessment of conservation status of marine biodiversity, including species and habitats and impacts of various human activities. The project shall develop innovative monitoring and assessment approach based on joint set of marine biodiversity indicators as well as to test in practice the monitoring and assessment techniques. The project is acting in the Baltic Sea in territorial waters and EEZ of Estonia, Latvia, Finland and Sweden. It is aiming at applying a regional approach for future marine biodiversity monitoring and cross country co-operation when assessing marine biodiversity in the Baltic Sea.

Project duration: 01.10.2010 – 31.03.2015

Project is funded by: European Union LIFE+ Nature & Biodiversity program as well as other donors and project partners

Project coordinating beneficiary: Baltic Environmental Forum – Latvia (project manager Heidrun Fammler).

Associated beneficiaries: Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology (Latvia); Institute for Environmental Solutions (Latvia); Latvian Fund for Nature (Latvia); Nature Conservation Agency (Latvia); Baltic Environmental Forum-Estonia (Estonia); Estonian Marine Institute (Estonia); Finnish Environment Institute (Finland); Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute (Finland); Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Sweden).

More detailed information about the project:

> In Latvia: Baltic Environmental Forum – Latvia, Anda Ruskule,, tel. + 371 6735 7548

> In Estonia: Baltic Environmental Forum-Estonia, Laura Remmelgas, , tel. + 372 6597 027

> In Finland: Finnish Environment Institute, Vivi Fleming Lehtinen, tel. + 358 40060 9269

> In Sweden: Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Cecilia Lindblad, , tel. + 46 10698 1295 and AquaBiota Water Research, Martin Isaeus,, tel. +46 8161 001

MSFD Marine Biodiversity Assessment Tool