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.
The ‘use of marine waters analysis’ assesses the contribution that human activities make to the economies in the Baltic Sea region (Box 3.1). Meanwhile, the ‘cost of degradation analysis’ measures the economic benefits that are lost when the sea does not reach a good environmental status (Box 3.2). Data to assess the economic impact of marine environment deterioration on the human activities dependent on the sea is scarce. An example of connecting the human activities, their economic performance and the marine environment is given in Box 3.3.
From the human welfare perspective, deterioration of the marine environment reduces the value that people place on it. An example of simultaneous use of marine waters and costs of degradation analysis for marine and coastal recreation is provided in Box 3.4. The results show that the annual economic value of recreation is 15 billion euros and the annual economic loss in recreational values from marine deterioration is 1-2 billion euros. The results are estimated using a travel cost approach, based on data from a standardized survey of households in all Baltic Sea countries (Czajkowski et al. 2015).
Regionally representative use of marine waters analysis considers fish and shellfish harvesting, marine aquaculture, tourism and leisure, renewable energy generation, and marine transport and infrastructure, and are presented here. Additional information on economic and social indicators for human activities, for which regionally comparable data is not yet available is provided in the Thematic assessment on economic and social analyses (HELCOM 2018A). More information on human activities in the Baltic Sea can be found in HELCOM (2018f).
Fish and shellfish harvesting
Fish and shellfish harvesting is a sector involved in the extraction of living resources. The ‘use of marine waters analysis’ describes commercial small-scale and large-scale fleet fishing which takes place within the Baltic Sea waters. The small-scale fishing fleet uses vessels shorter than twelve metres, while the large-scale fleet includes vessels larger than twelve metres. The data originates from the annual report on the EU fishing fleet published by the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF 2017), for all countries except Russia. Due to the reduced number of vessels and/or enterprises in Germany and the Baltic States, data which were considered sensitive (on distant-water fleets) were not delivered to the STECF. This has an impact on the regional level analysis.
The number of active vessels in the Baltic Sea was estimated at 6,192 in 2015 (STECF 2017), and 6,500 in 2014 (STECF 2016a). The Finnish fleet was the largest (1,577 vessels). Among the EU Member States, Estonian, Finnish and Latvian marine fisheries are fully dependent on the Baltic Sea region, while other EU Member States vessels operate also in other marine fishing regions. Only vessels operational in the Baltic Sea are included in the statistics (Figures 3.4 and 3.5). The value of landings in the Baltic Sea region totalled 217 million euros in 2015, compared to 218 million euros in 2014. The highest total values for fish and shellfish landed by national fleets from the Baltic Sea waters were by the Polish, Swedish and Finnish fleets, and the lowest total values by the Estonian and Lithuanian fleets. The value of landings is similar in size to the value of estimated revenue.
The gross value added for the Baltic Sea area was 116 million euros in 2015 compared to 95 million euros in 2014. The highest values were for Sweden and Poland, and the lowest values for Lithuania and Germany. In terms of employment, the commercial fishing sector related to Baltic Sea waters employs an estimated 9040 people. It should be noted that the full-time equivalent employment is near half of this number (4704). Poland, Estonia and Finland have a clearly higher number of persons employed in their fleets operating in the Baltic Sea region, compared to the other countries. There is employment also in related sectors, such as fish and shellfish processing (see HELCOM 2018A). The spatial distribution of fish harvesting in the Baltic Sea is illustrated in Figure 3.6 by the spatial distribution of commercial landings of cod, herring and sprat.
The marine aquaculture sector involves the cultivation of living resources in the marine environment. Economic impacts from aquaculture are presented only for Finland, Denmark and Sweden (STECF 2016b, Statistics Sweden 2017). There is one finfish and one shellfish farm in the German waters of the Baltic Sea, but the production volumes and other types of economic data are confidential, and thus there is information only on the location of the farms. For all the other countries, the production is assumed to be zero (and thus the turnover, gross value added and employment), based on the national production and sales data reported to the European Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries. Shellfish aquaculture is not included in the figures. Of the Baltic Sea countries, Denmark, Germany and Sweden are involved in shellfish aquaculture, but it has a lower significance in the Baltic Sea than finfish aquaculture. For example, Denmark produces blue mussels in the Baltic Sea with an annual turnover of 1.3 million euros.
Marine finfish aquaculture had a total turnover of 79 million euros in 2014, divided mainly between Finland and Denmark (Figure 3.7). The whole value for Denmark, Finland and Sweden can be attributed to the Baltic Sea. In Denmark, marine production of rainbow trout and trout eggs in sea cage farms is the second most important type of aquaculture after land based production of trout. The Danish marine production of rainbow trout is located in the Baltic Sea along the southern coast of Jutland and a few production sites along the coast of Zealand. In Finland, marine aquaculture consists of rainbow trout production in cages.
Tourism and leisure
The coastal and marine tourism sector covers a wide range of sub-sectors including accommodation, food and drink, and leisure activities, such as boating and fishing. In many cases, it is difficult to separate the extent of the Baltic Sea tourism from tourism that is not dependent on the marine and coastal environment, as the activities are not limited to those which take place in the sea, but also includes those at the coast (See HELCOM 2018A). However, marine tourism and recreation are dependent on the state of the sea, which is not true for all tourism activities taking place along the coast.
The tourism sector is an important employer, providing employment to almost 160,000 people in the coastal areas (Eurostat defines coastal areas as ‘municipalities bordering the sea or having half of their territory within 10 km from the coastline’ (Eurostat 2017a). However, all of this employment cannot be attributed to the Baltic Sea, as only a portion of tourism in coastal areas is dependent on the marine environment. Information about the economic importance of Baltic Sea recreation is presented in Box 3.4. The total recreational benefits of the Baltic Sea are around 15 billion euros annually.
Renewable energy generation
Offshore wind energy is a sub-sector of the renewable energy production sector which takes place in the sea. Offshore wind energy refers to the development and construction of wind farms in marine waters and the conversion of wind energy into electricity (EC 2013a). It is a new industry that is considered to have significant growth potential.
For offshore wind energy, non-monetary figures are used to describe the sector as there are no other socio-economic indicators available. The number and capacity of existing offshore wind turbines show the current situation, while the offshore wind turbines approved or under construction illustrate future development (Figures 3.8 and 3.9). In addition to these, there are dozens of proposed windfarm areas for the Baltic Sea. For example, according to the data, there are no existing offshore wind turbines in Poland, but 40 have been proposed.
While the data have been accepted by the countries, the year the data originates from is not clear in all cases. This makes the numerals on the planned wind turbines rather uncertain.
Transport – shipping
The socio-economic indicators for the shipping transport sector include both the value added from and the number of people employed by the sea and coastal freight and passenger transport (Figures 3.12 and 3.13). Around 25 % of the shipping in the Baltic Sea takes place under the flag of one of the Baltic Sea coastal countries, according to HELCOM data from the automatic identification system for vessels (AIS). It should be noted, however, that the numbers for Germany and Denmark relate to all shipping transport, not just the Baltic Sea. No data for Russia are available for the indicators based on Eurostat. Also, many countries do not report shipping statistics when the data ‘allow for statistical units to be identified’ (EU 2009); for example when there are too few actors to ensure anonymity of the data. In this case, data have been marked as confidential by countries. Together, these issues affect the regional totals.
The total value added for the region from freight transport is 5.1 billion euros and from passenger transport 2.5 billion euros. For value added from sea and coastal freight water transport, Germany has the highest value added with 4.1 billion euros, but this includes all marine shipping and is not specific to the Baltic Sea. Finland has the next highest at 426 million euros. Latvia and Lithuania have the lowest values. For value added from sea and coastal passenger water transport, the numbers are more evenly spread, with Sweden having the highest value added followed by Finland and Denmark. The total number of people employed is 22 300 for freight transport and 24 500 for passenger transport. In 2011, there were an estimated 42 million international ferry passengers in the Baltic Sea (HELCOM 2015b).