Baltic Sea project to boost regional coherence of marine strategies through improved data flows, assessments, and knowledge bade for development of measures

Project passport
Project Duration
Project Beneficiary
Latvian Fund for Nature
Project Partners

10 partners from the HELCOM EU Member States and one international organisation (ICES)

Project Funding
European Commission
Project Location

Baltic Sea

Project Manager
Ainārs Auniņš
Project Co-ordinator
Project Contact Information
Project Phone
Project Email
Project Address
Vilandes st. 3-7 Riga, LV-1010, Latvia
Project Home Page

The main objective of the project is to improve regional coherence in the implementation of marine strategies through improved data flow, assessments, and knowledge base for development of measures.

Project Activities: 

BalticBOOST will develop assessment tools and set up data arrangements to support indicator-based assessments of the state of and pressures on the Baltic Sea. A broader knowledge base will allow the project to propose principles for joint environmental targets for pressures affecting seabed habitats. Furthermore, the project will support the development of a joint report that documents regional coordination of actions agreed in HELCOM and MSFD Programmes of Measures for those Contracting Parties to HELCOM that are EU Member States.

Theme 1, Biodiversity, focuses on development of a biodiversity assessment tool and improving data arrangements for the biodiversity elements where this is limited (e.g. coastal fish, birds and seals) so that a comprehensive assessment of biodiversity in the Baltic Sea can be carried out by 2018. The status of seal populations will be used as a case study to explore the possibility to align assessments under the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, MSFD and the Habitats Directive.
Theme 2, Hazardous substances, will refine an existing HELCOM tool for assessing the status hazardous substances. Key components for adequate assessment of hazardous substances are to agree on matrices for indicators and to have access to quality assured data.
Theme 3, Physical loss and damage to seabed habitats, will, as a starting point, explore ways to determine how much disturbance from different activities that specific seabed habitats can tolerate while remaining in Good Environmental Status (GES). A tool for assessing the impacts of fishing gear on specific habitat types and species will also be developed.
Finally, an arrangement for regular collection of data and information on pressures and activities that affect the Baltic Sea will be piloted, to provide support to this Theme as well as future assessment of pressures impacting the Baltic Sea. With this information as a basis the project will propose joint principles for defining environmental targets for pressures affecting seabed habitats.
Theme 4, Noise, will focus on Underwater Noise and will review existing knowledge on impact of noise in the Baltic Sea, explore the possibility to determine acceptable levels of underwater noise for marine species, and survey possible measures to manage and mitigate relevant impacts on the Baltic Sea.
Theme 5, Joint documentation of PoMs, will support the development of a joint document on regional coordinated Programmes of Measures and a system to follow-up actions agreed by HELCOM. ​
Latvian Fund for Nature is involved in the Work Package 1.2. Data arrangements for coastal fish, bird and seal indicators and it is responsible for development of data arrangements including database structure for bird indicators. 
Tasks and approaches:
  • Carry out a workshop with experts from HELCOM Contracting Parties to agree on common data format and data arrangements.
  • Analyse the BALSAM output (metadatabase) and recommend on whether to have a distributed or centralized database solution, taking into account other international data reporting activities.
  • Develop a database format (reporting guidelines) and data input tool.

Operational data arrangements for birds that will enable efficient and regular reporting of data and thereby enable regular updates and indicator based assessments. The results of the WP will also expand the range of accessible data products in the HELCOM Data and Map services’ thematic HELCOM Biodiversity portal as well as further enhance the portal’s functionalities and data compatibility towards European standards (INSPIRE).

  • JWGBIRD - OSPAR/HELCOM/ ICES/Working group on Marine Birds meeting took place in 9 – 13 November, 2015 in ICES Headquarters in Copenhagen, DK
  • European Seaduck Working Group Workshop took place in 18 – 19 May, 2016 in Aarhus University, Aarhus, DK