MARE – Marine Research on Eutrophication – a Scientific Base for Cost-Effective Measures for the Baltic Sea

Programme ended 2006.

This post is also available in Swedish

WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE?

The input of nitrogen and phosphorus to the sea is a prerequisite for life, not an environmental problem. It becomes a problem only when the input increases so much that the original character or function of the ecosystem changes (eutrophication), and today this represents one of the most serious environmental problems in the Baltic Sea – with considerable economic consequences for the fisheries and tourism, etc. Although a great deal has been done in recent decades to reduce the input of nutrients that reach the sea with rivers or atmospheric deposition, eutrophication still constitutes a very serious problem.

HOW CAN THE PROGRAMME CONTRIBUTE TO A SOLUTION?

The MARE programme shall lead to the development of decision-support system, which combines different types of information on the functions of the marine ecosystem, the distribution and use of nutrients in the system, and estimated costs of different means of reducing the input. The hope is for all the countries around the Baltic Sea to eventually be able to agree on the system being put to good use when decisions are to be taken on different levels concerning the choice and implementation of cost-effective measures to counteract eutrophication in the sea. The MARE system shall also be connected to the environmental monitoring and assessment system within the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), the joint body for marine environmental issues in the Baltic Sea. The research is also expected to contribute to the implementation of the EC Water Framework Directive.

WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THE RESULTS?

HELCOM and its bodies. EU and its bodies. Agriculture. Fisheries. Central and regional bodies focusing on the environment, agriculture as well as water supply and sewage treatment.