What does the northern Bothnian Bay have in common with for example the Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion on the Indonesian archipelago? Not the corals, sharks or sea turtles but well enough the identification as EBSA
areas (Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas). Or as stated on the EBSA website
“special places in the world’s oceans”
(Photo by Noora Kantola, Metsahallitus)
It is the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which appoints the EBSA. In order to get identified as an EBSA the marine area has to fulfill the following criteria:
- Uniqueness or rarity
- Special importance for life-history stages of species
- Importance for threatened, endangered or declining species and/or habitats
- Vulnerability, fragility, sensitivity, or slow recovery
- Biological productivity
- Biological diversity
(Photos by Suvi Saarnio, Essi Keskinen and Elina Keskitalo, Metsahallitus)
To identify new EBSAs scientific and technological information, together with knowledge of indigenous and local communities is collected about the marine areas. National experts, scientists and organisations gather to review the information and propose a selection of marine areas that fulfill the criteria as EBSA. In February last year a workshop was held in Helsinki to describe ecologically and biologically significant marine areas in the Baltic Sea. In November the parties of the convention met in Sharm-el Sheik in Egypt for the UN Biodiversity Conference. There nine marine areas within the Baltic Sea were appointed and added to the list of worldwide EBSA (read the news here!).
In addition to the northern Bothnian Bay, the Kvarken Archipelago, the Eastern Gulf of Finland and the Southern Gotland Harbour Porpoise Area are three examples of areas also identified as significant marine areas in the Baltic Sea.
(Photos by Petra Pohjola and Anna Engdahl, County Administrative Board of Norrbotten, Ville Savilampinen, Metsahallitus)
Some of the reasons why the northern Bothnian Bay fulfill the critera of being an EBSA (as reported in the assessment):
- A uniqueness due to several marine Natura 2000 habitats and home to sea-spawning grayling (Thymallus thymallus) and the leaf beetle Macroplea pubipennis.
- Highly important area for critical stages in the life of several anadromous fish, e.g salmon, the ringed seal (Pusa hispida) and migrating birds.
- It hosts several threatened species such as the plants Hippuris tetraphylla and the Baltica water-plantain (Alisma wahlenbergii
From the SEAmBOTH project we can’t agree more, and feel very blessed to be able to work in, with and for such a special place in the world’s oceans.
Written by Linnea Bergdahl, County Administrative Board of Norrbotten