This website contains the 2018 updated version of the State of the Baltic Sea report. For the first version of the report and other materials, please see the HOLAS II - First version workspace on HELCOM's website.
Human activities in the Baltic Sea and its surroundings are responsible for pressures on the environment. The size of the catchment area of the Baltic Sea is four times the size of its surface area, and is currently inhabited by around 85 million people. Inputs from human activities in the catchment area, such as nutrient loading and hazardous substances, add to pressures from human activities at sea, causing cumulative impacts to the status of the marine environment. Important current pressures acting on the Baltic Sea environment are shown in Figure 3.1, together with links to the many human activities that may contribute to them. Examples of human activities of importance in the Baltic Sea and their spatial distribution are shown in Figure 3.2.
Activities in the Baltic Sea and its coastal areas bring employment and economic benefits to national economies, and also affect people’s welfare directly; for example, by providing recreational space. The first holistic assessment included some case study results of the costs and benefits of improving the state of the Baltic Sea (HELCOM 2010a). The present assessment deepens our understanding of the connection between the marine environment and human welfare. On the one hand, the regional economic and social analyses consider the economic benefits foregone if the marine environment deteriorates. But on the other hand, they illustrate economic benefits arising from the use of the marine environment.
Figure 3.3 outlines the regional economic and social analyses and their role in their holistic assessment. More detailed descriptions on methods and additional data are presented in HELCOM (2018A; Thematic assessment).