Monitoring guidelines


The COMBINE Manual is directed to perform monitoring to quantify impacts of nutrients and hazardous substances in the marine environment and to measure chemical and hydrographic parameters.

The COMBINE Manual is currently under review. Revised guidelines will be incorporated as part of the Monitoring Manual by 2016.

(Data collected under COMBINE can be downloaded from ICES Oceanographic database. Monitoring data can be also visualized and downloaded in the ICES EcoSystemData map service.)

Guidelines for Monitoring of Radioactive Substances

Guidelines for Monitoring of Radioactive Substances for discharges and radioactivity in the marine environment are updated annually by the HELCOM MORS Expert Group. The monitoring quantifies the sources and inputs of artificial radionuclides, as well as the resulting trends in the various compartments of the marine environment (water, biota, sediment).



Guidelines for monitoring of the waterborne pollution load is carried out according to PLC-Water Guidelines. The monitoring quantifies emissions of nutrients and hazardous substances to the air, discharges and losses to inland surface waters, and the resulting air and waterborne inputs to the sea.


The monitoring of coastal fish is carried out following the Guidelines for Coastal Fish Monitoring.


The monitoring of seal abundance is carried out following the Guidelines for Seal Abundance Monitoring.


The monitoring of marine wintering birds is carried out following the Guidelines for coordinated cost-effective monitoring of marine wintering birds.

Manual on Co-operation in Response to Marine Pollution

HELCOM also coordinates the surveillance of deliberate illegal oil spills around the Baltic Sea, and assesses the numbers and distribution of such spills on an annual basis. See Guidelines for Response to spills.