Marine protection: EU signs up to updated regional action plan for a clean and healthy Baltic Sea

At a ministerial meeting held today in Lübeck, Germany, the contracting parties of the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area (HELCOM) adopted an updated Action Plan for a cleaner and healthier Baltic Sea. The EU, as a party, backed and participated in the development of the Action Plan as it will support EU Member States in the region to achieve their environmental obligations under EU law, thereby contributing to cleaner, healthier and more productive seas. Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičiusrepresenting the European Union, said: “The Baltic Sea and its coasts face many challenges, such as eutrophication, marine pollution, depletion of fish stocks and climate change effects. HELCOM is an excellent example of ocean governance at regional level. It has historically played a pioneering role by putting efforts to achieve a clean and healthy Baltic Sea. The adoption of this updated action plan is a key step towards delivering on our common vision for a clean and healthy Baltic Sea and boosts existing efforts to bring the Baltic to good environmental status.” The updated Baltic Sea Action Plan adopted today contains more than 200 measures and aims to achieve good environmental status of the Baltic Sea by 2030. It provides clear tools and direction to effectively and concretely achieve the joint commitments taken one year ago by Ministers of Fisheries, Agriculture and Environment of EU Baltic Sea Member States at the Our Baltic conference. Some of the suggested measures aim at reducing eutrophication, hazardous substances and litter and achieving ‘good environmental condition’ for marine biodiversity and sea-based activities. The Action Plan will assist the EU Baltic Member States to protect their marine waters and achieve environmental commitments under the European Green Deal including as announced in the EU Biodiversity Strategy, the Zero Pollution Action Plan, as well as the Farm to Fork strategy. More information is in the news release.