Today 85 million people inhabit the drainage area of the Baltic Sea. The sea is one of the world’s largest brackish water areas and is inhabited by both marine and freshwater species. A mix of land-based human activities, such as agricultural, industrial, and urban activities exert a wide variety of pressures on the sea. The sea itself experiences busy shipping between its surrounding countries and is an important or emerging resource for fishing, fish farming, gravel extraction and wind energy, to name a few, and is being used for leisure and tourism. Some of the pressures on the Baltic Sea are exacerbated by the limited level of water exchange, which means that nutrients and other substances from the drainage area accumulate in the Baltic Sea and are only diluted slowly.
HELCOM has identified seven distinct pressures, which are assessed in this chapter:
Data sources and details
- Integrated assessment of eutrophication – Supplementary report 2017 (PDF, 8 MB)
- Integrated assessment of hazardous substances – Supplementary report 2017 (PDF, 5 MB)
- A supplementary report on cumulative impacts on the seafloor is in progress