This State of the Baltic Sea report provides an update on the environmental situation in the Baltic Sea for the period 2011–2016. The report captures a ‘moment’ in the dynamic life history of the Baltic Sea, aiming to support an adaptive and regionally coordinated management to improve the environmental status of the Baltic Sea.
The report highlights a broad range of aspects, covering the state of the ecosystem, environmental pressures and human well-being. Some results are based on the achievements of long-term HELCOM monitoring and assessment, whereas others are presented regionally for the first time. HELCOM core indicators form the basis for the assessment. The indicators assess the status of selected elements of biodiversity and human-induced pressures on the Baltic Sea against regionally agreed threshold values, based on current knowledge and available data for the assessment. In addition, integrated assessments for biodiversity, eutrophication and contamination status are made, based on the core indicators. For marine litter, underwater sound, and seabed loss and disturbance the assessment is descriptive since HELCOM core indicators are still under development. Trends over time and spatial aspects are included, as far as data are available, in order to indicate potential future developments and geographic areas of key importance for the assessed themes. Results from economic and social analyses are included for themes where information at the regional scale is available.