The ymparisto.fi/meri website will become the main source of information for marine protection and management. The site will gather current indicator data based on the marine monitoring programme, current measured data related to the monitoring of the marine management measure programme and information about marine research, among other things.
The significance of the sea to humans and the idea of the sea as shared property (“sea literacy”) will be promoted. The ideal can be promoted already in early childhood education by bringing knowledge about the seas into nursery schools and schools with various events and presentations, in collaboration with environmental organizations and NGOs, for example. The aim is to even include “sea literacy” in the primary school curriculum.
This measure is divided into three kinds of measures by theme:
A. Communication about consumption and marine management
B. Measures related to activities, production, and trade
C. Measures related to living and transport
A.1. Decreasing the effects of food production and consumption on water bodies
• Following nutrition recommendations: Following national food recommendations will be promoted through information and education. The plate model, designed after the nutrition recommendations, guides the consumer towards eating more sustainably by favouring Finnish natural fish and a plant-based diet (vegetables, legumes, berries, fruits and cereal plants) that put less strain on the water bodies.
• Reducing food waste: The reduction of food waste in households, food production, stores and restaurants through information and guidance. If wood waste is reduced, it is likely that food production and nutrient loading in water bodies will also reduce.
A.2. Reducing littering by sharing information and affecting consumers’ purchases
• Information to the consumers about the effects of littering: Litter ends up in the seas largely as a result of ignorance and indifference. These can be affected with information campaigns and education that is aimed at reducing the littering of the sea. The campaign will bring out the harmfulness of littering to marine nature. The campaign will also reveal estimates of how littering can harm the marine ecosystem and how individual choices affect the littering of the sea.
• Consumer purchases: To reduce the use of plastic packaging, plastic bags and cosmetics and hygiene products that contain microplastics, guidance and education is offered to consumers. Options will be presented to consumers: for example, they will be advised to start using truly biodegradable bags and reusable bags and to choose hygiene products and other products that do not contain microplastics. As there is more information about littering, more specific information packages will be created about the amount, sources and effects of different types of litter on the marine ecosystem. These can be shared on social media (such as Facebook or Twitter as well as the websites of various hiking and boating organizations). As the use of plastic packaging and products with microplastics is reduced, it is likely that the amount of macro and micro litter ending up in water bodies will also reduce. As the implementation of the littering measure (LITTER 1) proceeds and the significance of various litter sources is specified, the communication targets and implementation will also be defined.
B.1. Reducing litter in the sea and on beaches in collaboration with fishers and boaters
• A campaign to fishers and ports: evaluating the opportunities to organize “Fishing for Litter” campaigns to fishers to remove litter from the sea, as has been done in Poland and Latvia.
B.2. Reducing littering by advising and educating product manufacturers
• Environmental advice aimed at product manufacturers (e.g. choice of materials, packaging): Product manufacturers, brand owners and retailers can be encouraged to ensure their products’ sustainability from the point of view of marine littering, taking into account, for example, the amount and quality of packaging materials as well as the lifecycle and recyclability of the products. Special attention will be paid to products that are often found in the marine environment.
• As the littering measure (LITTER 1) proceeds, information about littering and its effects is increased, which will help specify the need for communication.
B.3. The consequences and correct implementation of small-scale dredging
• An information package will be created about the consequences, regulations and correct implementation of small-scale dredging. The product could be a leaflet with information about the effects of dredging and disturbing the seabed, relevant legislation and responsible and correct implementation. A bulletin will be posted to operators and residents in specific areas, and Facebook and the website will support the communication campaign and refer people to the contact information of local permit authorities. Dredging entrepreneurs should be informed about the collective effects of dredging and the importance of reporting. In addition to the PHYSICAL 1 measure, measures NATURE 2 and NATURE 3 will be supported.
C.1. Enhancing the use of waste management in recreational destinations on beaches
• Environmental education will be increased about the correct handling of waste in recreational destinations. Campaigns will be organized to promote responsible behaviour, attentive to nature. The campaign can also be expanded to the early childhood education campaign about reducing littering. Campaigns will be aimed at the adult population too, for example, by promoting the Leave No Trace principle, by sharing information about separating waste on social media and by creating a positive image of a modern consumer who separates their waste.
• A campaign will be created to encourage recreational beach visitors and boaters to collect litter from beaches in places like popular recreational destinations (like the 2014–2015 Clean Beach campaign) and islands. The campaigns can be organized in collaboration with boating organizations by challenging/encouraging fishers and private boaters to take care of our shared sea together.
C.2. Traveling in protected areas and in vulnerable natural areas. Supports measures NATURE 1–3 and NOISE 3
• Information will be shared about the harms of hiking, boating, and landing in protected areas and areas with vulnerable species. Individual people will be encouraged to reflect on their choices, and emphasis will be put to the fact that everyone can help the Baltic Sea to remain a diverse habitat through their own actions. The campaign can highlight protected areas and other vulnerable areas, justify restrictions and offer temporal and functional recommendations for hiking, as well as share information about eco-friendly hiking.
• The campaign will also educate people about the functionally important biotopes in the Finnish sea areas (e.g. fish spawning areas), explain their importance and emphasize the harm that people are causing to them. There will also be information about endangered biotopes. Materials will be produced for boaters in collaboration with environmental organizations and NGOs. The target group will be people traveling in the archipelago and holiday residents. Based on the information produced by the noise reduction measure (NOISE 3), a campaign will be created to introduce the underwater noises to the public and to highlight what kind of noise human activities cause both underwater and above-water. As the noise measure proceeds, information about underwater and above-water noise and their effects on the marine ecosystem is increased, which will help specify the need for communication. The communication can especially spotlight birds and marine mammals such as the harbour porpoise that are known to be affected by noise.
C.3. A map service about the locations, restrictions and natural values of protected areas and a mobile application about protected areas and hiking areas. Supports measures NATURE 1 and 3
• Map service: The locations and regulations of all protected areas are collected into the map service to be accessed by all, and this will be promoted in various ways. Information will be shared through the Luontoon.fi website and municipal environmental channels about protected areas, their restrictions, maintenance and natural values. Communication materials will be created about the significance of protection and the strict habitat requirements of various species. The significance of strictly protected areas to the Finnish nature will be positively highlighted.
• Mobile application: A mobile application will be created to explain nature and protected areas and to increase awareness about protected areas, their protection goals and regulations. The application would utilize location technology to notify the user about reaching a protected area and about its protection orders and ordinances. It would also send a notification about local natural sites as well as functional and regional restrictions. If possible, the application should also include hiking areas, recreational areas, natural docks and potential recommended fishing sites.
Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry