I work at the County Administrative Board of Norrbotten in the coastal town of Luleå. The main focus of my job is marine protected areas in Bottenviken. My collegues and I oversee the the whole process of creating protected areas. From the start with inventories of the marine environment to the actual implementation of the protected areas.
Within the SEAmBOTH project I participate in marine surveys of coastal shallow areas. We want to find out what species of plants grows where on the bottom, where you have different types of habitats and the overall condition of the underwater area. This knowledge is crucial in order to make wise decisions regarding the marine environment. The data we collect, together with the data from the Finnish side, will be used to produce the habitat maps of Bottenviken.
During the field season, which for us runs between July and September, my colleagues and I are out at sea. We collect information about the underwater vegetation by snorkeling and using a drop-video camera from the boat. It’s not always the easiest places to get to those that we visit. It can be very shallow, muddy, far from nearest harbour etc. This requires specific equipment and a large part of our days is dedicated to preparation before going out as well as gear maintenance at the end of the day.
I’m educated as a marine biologist and environmental scientist. Before I used to teach scuba diving in tropical waters, so coming to Bottenviken was a bit cold for me in the beginning. However I find that every day here is a possibility of discovering something new. There’s so little we know of this place, there are fantastic places under water where no one’s been before. Sharing and spreading that new knowledge to others becomes crucial for keeping a sustainable sea in the future.
Written by Linnea Bergdahl, County Administrative Board of Norrbotten