Oceans of the World, marine conservation and blue growth for a sustainable planet




MAP - The Gulf of Finland is a very shallow bay of 29 500 km2, with a length of 428km and width up to 120km. The narrowest distance across the Gulf is 52km from Porkkala to Rohuneeme outside Tallinn. The deepest parts of the Gulf are at a depth of only 80-100m at its mouth. There are depths of over 100m on the southern coast, while the northern side never exceeds 60m. About 5% of the water mass in the Baltic Sea is located in the Gulf of Finland.

The Baltic Sea is one of the largest bodies of brackish water in the world, which is reflected in the relatively narrow but unique biota that includes both sea and fresh water species. Subsequently the ecosystem of the Gulf of Finland is vulnerable to loss of biodiversity, as there may not be substituting species for ones that diminish or disappear. The Gulf also lies along the main migration route of arctic birds. There are many national nature conservation areas in the Gulf of Finland most of which are part of the European Natura 2000 network. All the conservation areas in the Gulf are part of the Baltic Sea Protected Areas network.



EUROPEAN MARITIME DAY, TURKU - Focus on investment in the Blue Economy - 17/05/2016

The 2016 edition of EMD explores ways to unlock the full potential of Blue Growth. Every year the international conference and exhibition that celebrate European Maritime Day offer maritime stakeholders a dynamic platform for dialogue and exchange. The outcomes of the event also help shape the European Commission's vision for maritime policy for the years ahead.

This year's conference, hosted in Turku, Finland, on 18 and 19 May, is entitled "Investing in smart and sustainable solutions for competitive Blue Growth" and focusses on unlocking investment in the blue economy.

Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella said: "Throughout the world, more and more opportunities for 'blue' growth and jobs are being identified. The EU is in the lead on several blue economy technologies, such as renewable energy or clean shipping. We are leading because we have invested. Our commitment to sustainability is what gives us our competitive edge and what will open up new global business opportunities for our industry".

Prime Minister of Finland, Juha Sipilä said: ”Our goal is to make Finland a forerunner in the bioeconomy, circular economy and cleantech by 2025. Sustainable solutions speed up export and employment. With better regulation we can increase investments that will help boost economic growth. At the moment, we are also preparing a national development plan for the blue bioeconomy to capitalise on the growth potential of the sector. Furthermore, we will do our part to safeguard the future of the maritime cluster.”

Mayor of Turku Aleksi Randell said: '' Turku has the honour of hosting the most notable maritime event in Europe. Turku is at the heart of the Finnish maritime cluster and the Baltic Sea co-operation. Turku designs and builds the largest and most environmentally friendly cruise ships in the world. We will actively continue our work toward wellbeing and cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region''

The Finnish Government will be represented by Minister of Agriculture and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen and Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner.




CREATION - The European Maritime Day (EMD) was officially created on 20 May 2008 where the President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Pöttering, Council President Janez Janša, and Commission President José Manuel Barroso signed a Joint Tripartite Declaration establishing it.



In Turku, over 1000 participants will be able to choose among 21 stakeholder workshops, 5 thematic sessions (Investing in blue growth, Improving ocean governance, Boosting skills development, Harnessing clean energy and Facilitating joint action) and 2 'Leadership Exchange' panels. The two-day event is organised by the European Commission in cooperation with the City of Turku and the Finnish Government.

The role that ports play in the maritime economy will be recurring this year through images. The photo competition organised by the European Commission through social networks, called #MyPortForTurku, attracted almost 600 pictures from 166 ports in 24 countries as well as 45 sponsors. Fifty works, chosen by an independent jury for their distinction, are exhibited at European Maritime Day in Turku. They will then go through several other European cities: a travelling exhibition of the vast diversity and unique value of European harbours.

As Maritime Day is a pan-European celebration of the sea in all its forms, during the month of May another 30 events are taking place throughout the EU in the form of workshops, open door days at museums or aquaria, school projects and much more. The city of Turku itself will host several side events in the days following the main conference.).

In addition to delivering the opening speech at European Maritime Day, Commissioner Vella will participate in a roundtable discussion with maritime industry CEOs on blue growth and speak at the Ministerial Session of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission. The EU will take over the presidency of the Helsinki Commission from 1 July 2016. The Commissioner will also visit the Meyer Turku shipyard and test a wave energy converter technology at the AW-Energy Järvenpää Research Center.”




BLUE GROWTH - How the project results were applied





The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland (to the north) and Estonia (to the south) all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it. Other major cities around the gulf include Helsinki and Tallinn. The eastern parts of the Gulf of Finland belong to Russia, and some of Russia's most important oil harbours are located farthest in, near Saint Petersburg (including Primorsk). As the seaway to Saint Petersburg, the Gulf of Finland has been and continues to be of considerable strategic importance to Russia. Some of the environmental problems affecting the Baltic Sea are at their most pronounced in the shallow gulf.




The ecological condition of the Gulf of Finland, Neva Bay and Neva River is unsatisfactory. There is significant contamination by ions of mercury and copper, organochlorine pesticides, phenols, petroleum products and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Cleaning of waste water in Saint Petersburg was started in 1979 and by 1997 about 74% of wastewater was purified. This number rose to 85% in 2005, to 91.7% by 2008, and is expected to reach 100% by 2011 with the completion of the expansion of the main sewerage plant. Nevertheless, in 2008, the Federal Service of Saint Petersburg announced that no beach of Saint Petersburg is fit for swimming.


Fish catchment decreased 10 times between 1989 and 2005. Apart from pollution, another reason for that is hydraulic and engineering works. For example, construction of new ports in Ust-Luga and Vysotsk and on Vasilievsky Island adversely affected the spawning of fish. Extraction of sand and gravel in the Neva Bay for the land reclamation destroy spawning sites of European smelt.


Construction of the Saint Petersburg Dam reduced water exchange of the Neva Bay with the eastern part of the gulf by 10–20% that increased the contamination level of Neva Bay. The largest changes occur within 5 km (3 mi) from the dam. Some shallow areas between Saint Petersburg and the dam are turning into swamps. Waterlogging and the associated rotting of plants may eventually lead to eutrophication of the area. Also worrying is expansion of oil ports in the gulf and the construction of a treatment center for spent fuel from the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant.


The port of Kronstadt is currently serving as a transit point for the import in Russia of radioactive waste through the Baltic Sea. The waste, mostly depleted uranium hexafluoride, is further transported through Saint Petersburg to Novouralsk, Angarsk and other cities of eastern Russia. This transit point will be moved from Saint Petersburg to the port Ust-Luga within the Border Security Zone of Russia, as decided by the Russian government in 2003 (Order No. 1491-r of 14 October 2003). This step should reduce the ecological risks for Saint Petersburg.






The southern coast of the gulf contains the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant and a network of ports and unique natural and historical places. Navigation has long been the dominant activity in the gulf. The major port cities and their functions are, in Russia: Saint Petersburg (all kinds of goods), Kronstadt (container shipping), Lomonosov (general cargo, containers, metals), Vyborg (general cargo), Primorsk (oil and petroleum products), Vysotsk (oil and coal), Ust-Luga (coal, timber, containers); in Finland: Helsinki (containers), Kotka (containers, timber, agricultural products; it is the main transhipment cargo port for Russia), Hanko (containers, vehicles), Turku (containers, rail ferry), Kilpilahti/Sköldvik harbour (oil refinery); in Estonia: Tallinn (grains, refrigerators, oil), Paldiski, Sillamäe. Gulf of Finland is also part of the Volga-Baltic Waterway and White Sea – Baltic Canal. Important goods include apatite from the Kola Peninsula, Karelian granite and greenstone, timber from Arkhangelsk Oblast and Vologda, ferrous metals from Cherepovets, coal from Donbass and the Kuznetsk Basin, pyrite from Ural, potassium chloride from Solikamsk, oil from Volga region, and grains from many regions of Russia.


Passenger transport on the gulf includes a number of ferry lines which connect the following ports: Helsinki and Hanko (Finland), Mariehamn (Åland Islands), Stockholm and Kappelsher (Sweden), Tallinn and Paldiski, Rostock (Germany), Saint Petersburg and Kaliningrad (Russia), as well as many other cities.


Another major and historical activity in the gulf is fishing, especially on the northern coast near Vyborg, Primorsk and on the southern coast near Ust-Luga. Commercial fish species are herring, sprats, European smelt, whitefishes, carp bream, roaches, perch, European eel, lamprey and others. In 2005, the catchment was 2000 tons by the ships of Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast alone.


In September 2005 the agreement was signed on the construction of the Nord Stream offshore gas pipeline on the Baltic Sea, from Vyborg to the German city of Greifswald. The first line should become operational in 2011.




BALTIC SEA - Map showing the geographical location of the Gulf of Finland in Europe




Blue Growth is the long term strategy to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors as a whole. Seas and oceans are drivers for the European economy and have great potential for innovation and growth.

The 'blue' economy represents roughly 5.4 million jobs and generates a gross added value of almost €500 billion a year. However, further growth is possible in a number of areas which are highlighted within the strategy.



















CLEAN UP YOUR OCEAN - Based on the Bluefish ZCC concept, that above feasibility design is a proposed trimaran test rig, using off-the-shelf components to get a feel for the concept. This is in no way a complete solution, but then we have to start somewhere. What we learn from these small scale experiments, could eventually help us to formulate a dual purpose, ocean capable cruiser, to clean up the Gulf of Finland and local harbours, with a view to cleansing the marine environment and improving the quality of beaches and locally caught fish.




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