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Introduction to the project

About Baltic MPAs Project

Since 1st August 2005 till 31st July 2009 Baltic Environmental Forum-Latvia was implementing the project “Marine Protected Areas in the Eastern Baltic Sea” (Baltic MPAs). Project was supported by European Commission LIFE programme.

The Baltic Sea is a unique and fragile ecosystem hosting many species and habitats of European interest and of importance for global biodiversity. Especially since EU enlargement on 1 May 2004 the Member States of the European Union share a great common responsibility for the protection of the Baltic Sea and the sustainable use of its resources.

This project contributed to the overall objective of protection and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in the Eastern Baltic Sea (costal and offshore waters of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania). In this context implementing the EU’s Natura 2000 network in marine areas was a key instrument.

International project Baltic MPAs with activities in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia united scientific institutions, non governmental institutions and experts from these countries who are dealing with issues related to marine management.

The project obectives:

  • Completing the establishment of Natura 2000 in the marine territories of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (site selection, designation, protection rules and management plans)
  • Assessing and reducing the impact of fishery by-catch on target bird and mammal species.
  • Assessing and addressing other threats to marine Natura 2000 sites (e.g. caused by constructions /developments, disturbance of species by economic or recreational activities, pollution)
  • Increasing public and stakeholder awareness on Natura 2000, marine protected areas and biodiversity in general in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia.
  • Promoting transboundary networking and capacity building on marine protected areas between the Baltic States, other EU Member States and Russia.

The follwoing results were expected of the project:

  • Natura 2000 site designation completed for all marine areas of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
  •  Detailed understanding of threats to marine Natura 2000 sites in the Baltic States.
  •  For selected sites: management plans prepared.
  •  Measures introduced to reduce fishery by-catch of target species.
  • Capacity and awareness of relevant experts, stakeholders and the general public increase on all aspects of marine Natura 2000;
  •  Added value and experience for Natura 2000 implementation in marine areas in the whole EU.
BEF Life Natura