Sweden’s Marine and Water Authority (HaV) is focusing on more protected areas, with a target of 10% of the marine environment under protection by 2020.
HaV has proposed some areas for protection that are already under fisheries legislation, and for this protection to be enhanced under Environmental Codes. Potential Marine Protected Areas are an area of the Kattegat that is currently protected under fisheries legislation, an area at Gotska Sandön in the Baltic and an area in the Gulf of Bothnia that depends on proposals by county administrations and which can be preserved with strictly limited human impact.
‘It is important that there are areas of untouched seabed and natural ecosystems. It’s the kind of nature that is needed to complement and strengthen the network of protected areas that exist along the coast of Sweden,’ said researcher Lena Tingström.
Today, about 6.60% of Sweden’s marine area is protected, but the goal (including Sweden’s environmental objectives) is that 10% should be protected by 2020.
HaV has developed the Action Plan on behalf of the government. The project also included an analysis and assessment of the existing network of marine protected areas. An important conclusion is that the purpose of the protected areas need to be clearer and the need for greater consensus on the objectives and better cooperation among stakeholders and responsible authorities.
‘We need to agree on what a network of marine protected areas will deliver and how each area contributes to the objectives,’ said Lena Tingström.