’Race for the Baltic’ campaign shines spotlight on damaged sea

Bicyclists to travel for 3 months and 3500 km around the Baltic Sea collecting signatures to urge decision makers to take action.

Press Release Date: April 9, 2013

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: mmadina@oceana.org | tel.: Marta Madina

‘Race for the Baltic’, a campaign calling for urgent action to save the Baltic Sea launched today. The campaign, which brings together a coalition of NGOs, businesses, concerned citizens and policy makers – founded by Zennström philanthropies, Coalition Clean Baltic, FISH, GLOBE and Oceana – is calling on Environmental Ministers to fulfill the goals agreed upon in the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan. This call to action comes ahead of the October meeting in Copenhagen where a new HELCOM declaration will be signed.

“The October HELCOM declaration needs to show clear commitment on the part of Environment Ministers to implementing the goals agreed in the plan”, says Hanna Paulomäki, Oceana’s Baltic Sea Project Manager. “The time to act is now, and the path is clear.”

Oceana is urging Ministers to:

  • REVIVE the biological diversity of the Baltic Sea, by designating 30 percent of the Baltic Sea as Marine protected areas and ensuring that they are managed effectively.
  • RECOVER the natural wealth of the fish stocks in the Baltic Sea to ensure long-term sustainability, by putting a stop to overfishing and ensuring that scientific advice is followed when setting fishing limits.
  • RESTORE the water quality of the Baltic Sea, by setting limits to reduce nutrients and pollutants flowing into the water.

Oceana is working to promote a sustainable use of marine resources in the Baltic Sea by calling for better fisheries management and ensuring that a coherent network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is established. Oceana recently proposed 12 new MPAs in the Baltic Sea, crucial to the fulfillment of the aforementioned goals above.

“Oceana has used expedition data collected over the past two years to determine key areas in need of protection in the Baltic,” added Paulomäki. “Each MPA we have proposed, from Denmark to Sweden and Finland covers areas and species critical to the recovery of this damaged sea and the fisheries that so many rely on.” 

On June  8th, World Oceans Day, a core team of five bicyclists will begin a three month long, 3500 km ride around the Baltic Sea to collect signatures for a petition, which will be handled to ministers at the October HELCOM meeting. 

Learn more: “Baltic Sea – Oceana proposal for Marine Protected Areas”