Letter of Intent Ann-Sofie Mattson, founder of BalticWaters
I developed my general interest in nature together with my family as we spent a lot of time with long-distance ski mountaineering, ice-skating, forest walks and not the least, sailing during the summers. The attraction to water has always been very tangible to me.
The change for the worse in the Baltic Sea becomes increasingly evident, not the least in terms of the fish supply, something that I, as a fisherman for household needs, have become aware of. We used to jig for cod in the Sea of Åland and snatch herring in the Stockholm archipelago, lay out nets and pull up perch and pike, lay out eel traps without once experiencing being without a catch.
Today – the nets are empty, and it is becoming more and more clear that our inland sea and its archipelagos are not healthy. The bladder wrack is disappearing, fish communities which were dominated by perch and pike are taken over by stickleback fish, and the coves of the archipelago become overgrown from algae in the summer’s warm waters.
I have lived near the Baltic Sea my entire life and in recent years closely followed Björn Carlson’s work with BalticSea2020 with much interest and have admired the ambitious and concrete projects they have implemented. One of the projects was also conducted near my summer residence in the Stockholm archipelago.
Now that BalticSea2020, as planned, has changed its environmental focus on other tasks, I see it as an excellent opportunity to contribute to the continuation and development of the new foundation BalticWaters and its activities, with all the projects that have been developed over the past 15 years. It is therefore with great pleasure that I received the news that Björn Carlson wants to contribute to BalticWaters’ flying start, by transferring BalticSea2020’s project history.
With several people from BalticSea2020 continuing in BalticWaters’ board of directors, it establishes continuity in the work. The new foundation will develop and conduct new projects and initiatives, while completing the work started by BalticSea2020. BalticWaters will focus on action-oriented measures in the sea, along our coasts and on land. It is clear that new ideas and new ways of thinking are needed in the light of the climate change we are facing.
The Sustainable Development Goals, Agenda 2030, includes several objectives that in my opinion are very relevant, such as Objective 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation, Objective 14 – Sea and Marine Resources (Life below water), and Objective 15 – Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Life on land). The foundation BalticWaters should thus work to spread knowledge about the Baltic Sea and our waters, and work closely with the academic community, commercial enterprises, and governmental authorities to establish and conduct projects that benefit both local and regional authorities.
The foundation’s chairman is Otto von Arnold, in addition to those who were previously part of the BalticSea2020 foundation – Konrad Stralka, Marie Berglund, Ragnar Elmgren and Per Larsson. I will not myself be a member of the board of directors, but I will follow the foundations activities. Otto von Arnold will also, together with Konrad Stralka, be spokesperson for the foundation.
I see a clear advantage in an independent foundation with low overhead that is able to concentrate on projects that really can make a difference for the Baltic Sea. With this in mind, the option of simply just donating money to another organisation has never been considered. The idea of forming the new foundation BalticWaters comes from the idea of “doing good,” because I have the possibility and the interest to contribute. My overall goal is to establish a strong and active actor in this field which promotes a healthier environment, in and around the Baltic Sea. And my ambition is to continue to support BalticWaters progressively and as needed.