Policy Briefs

Policy Briefs and Fact Sheets

Scientifically based information to policy makers

Policy Briefs are summaries of scientific knowledge, usually connected to a current managemental development or political proceeding, that aim to enhance engagement in important Baltic Sea issues. Our Policy Briefs are distributed to their relevant audience and presented by our experts at events.

The date on each of our Policy Briefs indicates when the knowledge that forms the basis for the content and recommendations has been collected. If any Policy Brief is missing, it may be because it is being updated or out of date. 

Multibeam picture of seafloor

Bottom trawling threatens European marine ecosystems

Recent research on bottom trawling effects points to the need for establishing larger trawl-free areas in all types of habitats to protect sensitive ecosystems and live up to principles of ecosystem-based management.

Sillar som simmar i stim

Reduce coastal trawling to protect the Baltic herring

Increased herring catches close to the Swedish Baltic east coast, and the negative trend for several herring stocks accentuate the need for reduced fishing pressure and more detailed knowledge about herring subpopulation structure.

Micropollutants is a collective term for a wide range of chemicals that are present in the aquatic e

Call for better management of micropollutants in wastewater

Urban wastewater treatment plants are important collection points for many chemical contaminants that are widespread in the aquatic environment. But micropollutant emissions from them are poorly assessed and regulated.

Fishing ban required to save the European eel

If the endangered European eel population is to recover there is an urgent need for a fishing ban, increased environmental monitoring and fewer obstacles to migration. This is concluded by the researchers at Baltic Sea Centre in a new Policy Brief.

Time for smarter and safer chemical management

Time for smarter and safer chemical management

Today’s massive flow of chemicals places new demands on risk management. Managing chemicals in groups and introducing mixture risk assessments into all chemicals legislation are two key measures to protect health and the environment.

Policy Brief: Emerging ocean acidification threatens Baltic Sea ecosystems

More jellyfish but fewer mussels – the expected spread of ocean acidification can have major effects on species composition in the Baltic Sea. To protect unique ecosystems and future food production, carbon dioxide emissions must be dramatically reduced.

Simmande sillstim

Policy Brief: For cod’s sake – cut back fishing on herring and sprat

EU Member States could take a number of important decisions to address the cod crisis, such as major reductions in quotas for catches of flatfish, herring and sprat in the southern Baltic.

Understanding MSY

Although there is criticism of the concept, MSY is important to understand for everyone involved in fisheries management, as is the alternative concept of MEY, Maximum Economic Yield. This fact sheet describes the concept of MSY and discusses alternatives.

Policy Brief: European chemicals regulation needs greater transparency

To meet the challenges of chemical risks in everyday life, risk assessments under the REACH registration process must be improved. One key element in this transformation is to introduce greater transparency.

Rapport om musselodling

Report 2/2018: Limitations of using blue mussel farms as a nutrient reduction measure

Blue mussel farming has been suggested as a cost effective nutrient mitigation tool in the Baltic Sea, to complement land-based measures. However, the environmental conditions of the Baltic proper, particularly the low salinity, affect the nutrient uptake efficiency of the blue mussels.

Policy Brief: Why we need a list of ingredients on consumer articles

Today, information on the chemical composition of articles is very scarce, making it difficult to understand which potentially hazardous chemicals are being released to the Baltic Sea. There is an urgent need for standardized methods and legal incentives to increase the transparency.

farm structure has become the “elephant in the room”

Policy Brief: How changes in farm structure could help reduce nutrient leakage to the Baltic Sea

The specialisation and spatial separation of crop and livestock production is a strong driver of nutrient surpluses, which increase the risk of eutrophication. To address this problem, we found scientific support for at least three pathways: moving nutrients, moving livestock, and changing our diets.

Each year, 23 million pigs, 16 million cows, and 244 million chickens in the catchment together prod

Fact Sheet: Can changing our diets help the Baltic Sea?

Our diets have implications for the environment. This fact sheet describes the linkages between trade, production, and consumption of crop and livestock products and how it affects eutrophication in the Baltic Sea.

Dykare som simmar ovanför en musselodling

Policy Brief: Musselfarming in the Baltic Sea

Blue mussel farming is not an efficient measure against eutrophication in the Baltic Sea. Blue mussels grow slowly in brackish water and large farms risk harming the marine environment more than they benefit it.

Policy Brief: Improving manure recycling in agriculture

Phosphorus is a finite resource. Efficient usage and recycling are essential. Recycling human sewage can help close the phosphorus cycle, but only partially meets circular economy goals.

Policy brief: Microplastics in marine life

A growing number of studies show that microplastics potentially worsen reproduction and survival of many marine animals. We still do not know exactly how harmful they are to marine life but current knowledge justifies robust political measures in order to cut the flow of microplastics to the marine environment.

Policy Brief: Advanced wastewater treatment

New times call for new measures. Advanced wastewater treatment can be part of meeting the challenges of society’s ongoing chemical intensification. New water treatment techniques have the potential to significantly reduce emissions of both known and unknown substances to the aquatic environment and reduce the risk of marine pollution.

Zostera marina field. Photo: Hans Kautsky

Policy Brief: Raising quality of marine protection

A new Policy Brief from Baltic Eye at the Baltic Sea Centre on why preserving biodiversity and securing a sustainable exploitation of natural assets will require a new way of setting up marine protection.

The internal phosphorus load – recycles old sins

Policy Brief: The internal phosphorus load

The accumulated pool of phosphorus on land receives much less attention than the pool in the Baltic Sea, despite being substantially larger and the ultimate source to the sea. Actions taken to reduce the internal load will not address the causes of eutrophication. Instead, actions must focus on improving both nutrient use efficiency in agriculture and sewage treatment.

Nutrient recycling in agriculture – for a cleaner Baltic Sea

Policy Brief: Nutrient recycling in agriculture

Agriculture is a large source of nutrients to the Baltic Sea. Only about half of the nutrients in fertiliser and manure are converted to harvested crops. Nutrient use efficiency must improve.

Policy Brief: The cosmetics clean-up

Hygiene products are a small but important point source for microplastics to the environment. In a Policy Brief from April 2015, Baltic Eye summarized a number of recommendations on how to limit the release of microplastics from hygiene products.

Flerårsplan för fisket i Östersjön

Policy Brief: Multiannual plan

The cod stocks should be a top priority in the Baltic Sea says the Baltic Eye as a comment on the proposal for EU’s new multiannual management plan for Baltic cod, herring and sprat.

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