New assessments of HELCOM indicators

HELCOM

The Helsinki Commission, known as HELCOM for short, is dedicated to protecting the Baltic Sea. One of its tasks is to monitor the state of the marine environment. To this end, HELCOM has developed indicators to determine the state of the Baltic Sea. They are designed to show progress in achieving the goals set in the Baltic Sea Action Plan.

The total number of evaluation indicators has now reached 59. These include key components of the Baltic Sea ecosystem, such as the coastal zone, benthic habitats, fish, waterfowl, marine mammals, but also the negative impact of human activities on the above elements.

The list of indicators assessed so far has been supplemented with information on waste on beaches, the oxygenation of shallow marine waters, and the concentration of copper in the water, for example. The change involves obtaining agreement on evaluation methods for new parameters. The greater the number of indicators subject to analysis, the more complete information we get about the Baltic Sea.

HELCOM – results of analyses

In addition to the change in assessment indicators, HELCOM has also published on its pages the results of analyses for, among other things:

  • Acidification,
  • Agricultural nutrient balance,
  • marine mammal bycatch,
  • chlorophyll concentrations,
  • cadmium concentrations,
  • Cyanobacteria blooms,
  • alien species,
  • reproduction interference,
  • seal population,
  • sea trout spawning grounds,
  • many others.

For each indicator, a separate sheet is presented with a summary of the results, maps of their spatial distribution, a description of the limits for good ecological status, as well as the confidence level of the results and information on data sources.

HELCOM’s assessment of the state of the Baltic Sea is an extremely valuable source of information on physicochemical parameters, biological elements, including fish populations, and levels of impact from various human activities on land and sea.

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