Thriving bays

Project period 2020–2027

Over the past half century, the Baltic Sea ecosystem has suffered serious damage. Changes in the shallow bays of the sea, often referred to as the Baltic Sea nursery, is particularly evident. Clear waters with high fish abundance, meadows of underwater vegetation and high diversity of small animals and fish fry have been transformed into murky water with algae blooms and absence of predatory fish and seabirds.

Much is at stake if we do not reverse the negative change and take measures to protect and restore the ecosystems of the shallow sheltered bays. The shallow bays are not only an important part of the Baltic Sea ecosystem, they also play an important role to inhabitants and visitors to the coast. Their value is significant in terms of a multitude of ecosystem services, such as recreational fishing, boating, and other marine recreation. Private sewage systems and agriculture contribute to eutrophication and exploitation of shores and shallow bays, and dredging, boat traffic, fishing and environmental pollutants place bay ecosystems under stress.

There are a myriad of local initiatives engaged in the restoration and preservation of these environments. Swedish authorities are working towards Swedish environmental goals as well as striving to fulfill Sweden’s environmental commitments within the EU and in international conventions. Unfortunately, this process is slow, and there are knowledge gaps regarding the most effective methods for measures — which is why the project Thriving bays was initiated.  

Without knowledge about the most pressing environmental stresses and the best suited measures for restoring shallow sheltered bays, resources might be allocated inefficiently, a situation that is neither environmentally nor economically beneficial. Within the project Thriving bays, researchers will investigate and evaluate measures to restore sheltered shallow bays along the Baltic coastline. To fulfill this objective, four shallow sheltered bays along the Swedish Svealand coast will be restored, and the response to each measure evaluated through individual case studies. The project aims to present appropriate measures to improve the environmental conditions in shallow sheltered bays, and illustrate the effectiveness and feasibility of the suggested measures. Thriving bays will also develop concrete recommendations for measures and costs that are expected to be feasible for property owners, communities, boat clubs and municipalities.

Thriving bays is conducted by BalticWaters with funding from, and in close cooperation with, Stockholm University and the county administrative board of Stockholm. The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management has granted funds to Stockholm University for sampling and evaluation in the project areas. In total, about SEK 45 million is invested in the project by the foundation and its partners.

Information on specific case studies and the results of the measures will be published as they become ready, while we also will evaluate the possibility of new projects and measures continuously.

With your support, we can work purposefully with a long-term perspective to save the Baltic Sea