In the Biodiversity section of the Baltic Sea Action Plan, the Contracting Parties have agreed to increase knowledge on and protection of Baltic Sea marine habitats, communities and species by i.e.
- updating, by 2013, HELCOM Red lists of Baltic habitats/biotopes and biotope complexes, and producing a comprehensive HELCOM Red list of Baltic Sea species (HELCOM RED LIST, BSEP 138 and 140);
- identifying, by 2013, recruitment habitats for coastal fish using modelling among other tools, and to develop a common approach for the mitigation of negative impacts (HELCOM FISH-PRO);
- by producing, by 2011, in co-operation with relevant organisations, an assessment of the conservation status of non-commercial fish species (HELCOM FISH-PRO, BSEP 131).
In the Baltic Sea Action Plan, the Contracting Parties agreed that coastal fish constitute an imperative part of the Baltic Sea total biodiversity and have a structuring role in coastal food webs. Furthermore, coastal fisheries are of great importance to the society from both a socio-economic and a cultural point of view. Acknowledgeding that a substantial part of the coastal fish community of the Baltic Sea consists of freshwater species, only managed at a national level, they agreed to invite the competent authorities
- to establish an international co-operation network to agree on guidelines to promote the ecosystem-based management of coastal fisheries in the Baltic region (HELCOM FISH-PRO);
- to develop long-term plans for, protecting, monitoring and sustainably managing coastal fish species, including the most threatened and/or declining, including anadromous ones (according to the HELCOM Red list of threatened and declining species of lampreys and fishes of the Baltic Sea, BSEP No. 109), by 2012,
- develop a suite of indicators with region-specific reference values and targets for coastal fish as well as tools for assessment and sustainable management of coastal fish by 2012 (HELCOM FISH-PRO)"
The 2013 HELCOM Ministerial Declaration underlined that the Contracting Parties are aware of the important recovery of the Eastern cod spawning stock biomasses in the Baltic Sea and support the further implementation of commitments under the BSAP and relevant legislation to secure the full recovery of all cod stocks to healthy population size and age distribution by 2020 and management consistent with achieving MSY, with the aim of further developing and applying an ecosystem approach to fisheries."