HELCOM COMBINE database (13MB zipped .csv) contains data of oceanographic monitoring data gathered by HELCOM Contracting Parties within the COMBINE monitoring programme.
COMBINE database is hosted by ICES and can be accessed online at ICES data centre web pages. Data about concentrations of hazardous substances in water, sediment and biota can be accessed under DOME database. HELCOM indicator data products derived from COMBINE database can be viewed in the Baltic Sea Environmental status map service.
HELCOM MORS Environmental database stores environmental levels of radioactivity in the Baltic Sea, reported by contracting parties in accordance with relevant HELCOM recommendations and guidelines.
HELCOM PLC database contains all
waterborne nutrient and contaminant discharges gathered by HELCOM
contracting parties within pollution load monitoring.
HELCOM MORS Discharge database contains discharges reported from nuclear installations.
HELCOM Map and Data service contains datasets on fishing activity in the Baltic Sea. The service contains three group layers:
See below the detailed description of fisheries VMS/logbook data processing for the 2009-2013 data.
HELCOM requires spatially explicit information on fishing activity affecting the Baltic Sea marine ecosystem for policy purposes. In order to obtain this information, a joint ICES/HELCOM/OSPAR data call was issued to relevant authorities of Contracting Parties to deliver information on fishing activity based on VMS/Log book data. Upon a request by HELCOM the data was processed to advice data products by ICES Working Group for Spatial Fisheries (WGSFD). Processing of the raw data was done by ICES WGSFD following Conditions for VMS data use, so as to make use of required specific resources, knowledge and guarantee of anonymity for specific vessels.
In 2015 ICES collated Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and logbook data received; data from Russia were not received. HELCOM requested advice, as fishing abrasion pressure maps as well as fishing effort maps, were provided by ICES.
Spatial scope: HELCOM Marine area. All contracting parties except Russia provided data.
Temporal scope: 2009-2013. Calculated values for each year and for each quarter of 2013
Spatial resolution: C-square grid 0.05 x 0.05 degrees
Format: ESRI shapefile (polygon)
The maps and shapefiles of fishing intensity and effort were calculated for bottom contact gear and mid-water trawl and longline for every year in the period from 2009 to 2013 and for each quarter of 2013. The following maps were produced:
HELCOM secretariat did the following further processing to the data:
Dataset attribute information:
Following definitions given in ICES advice to OSPAR, understanding of "fishing intensity" is clarified in the fishing abrasion pressure maps produced for the advice to OSPAR. Abrasion pressure is not appropriate for midwater trawls and longlines; therefore, maps for all gears have been produced using fishing effort as the number of hours fished, extracted from the submitted VMS data.
Using methods described by ICES WGSFD, fishing abrasion pressure maps were produced for mobile bottom-contacting gears. In line with the methodology, separate maps were produced for surface and subsurface abrasion. The resulting maps showing fishing abrasion and fishing effort have also been provided as ESRI shapefile data to HELCOM and are available via HELCOM Map and Data service. When using these data caveats listed in the section "Conditions of Use" should be considered.
The outcome data products display fishing intensity and effort in the Baltic Sea. Largest swept area ratios and fishing effort for subsurface abrasion of mobile bottom contacting gear were found in the Southern Baltic and Kattegat. The highest fishing effort for midwater trawls was located in Eastern Gotland Basin and the Gulf of Riga. Fishing effort using longline gear was mainly focused in Bornholm Basin. The fishing effort was also calculated per each 174 HELCOM Marine Protected Area (MPA).
The analysis was also carried out on the proportion of fisheries represented by the data. The proportion of the total landings (by weight) that was recorded by logbooks and are represented by VMS data increased in 2012 compared to earlier years, in 2012 VMS became mandatory for >12 m vessels. In 2013 VMS data captured 81.6% of total fisheries for all mobile bottom-contacting gear, for midwater trawls 99.6% of the landings are covered by VMS, and for the longlines, only 23% of the landings are covered by VMS.
Read full advice text here.
The data products derived from the HELCOM requested advice from ICES are downloadable from HELCOM Map and Data service and can be used freely given that the source is cited. Requested advice can be used as appropriate by HELCOM when embarking on further marine policy-related issues.
The correct data product citation is the following:
ICES. 2015. Fishing abrasion pressure maps for mobile bottom-contacting gears in HELCOM area. HELCOM requested advice from ICES.
When using the data for analysis/assessments the following caveats need to be taken into consideration:
GIS datasets produced by the BALANCE
project can be viewed and downloaded from the HELCOM Map and Data service and from the HELCOM Metadata catalogue.
"Baltic Sea Management – Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development
of the Ecosystem through Spatial Planning" – was an INTERREG III B
co-funded project aimed towards development of informed marine management tools
for the Baltic Sea based on spatial planning and cross-sectoral and
transnational co-operation. BALANCE started in July 2005 and ended in December
The data collection activity has been
supported by the BALSAM project
(co-financed by the European Union DG
From the application, it is possible to:
HELCOM countries agreed in 2007 to
further develop in co-operation with the 1991 Agreement on the Conservation of
Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas (ASCOBANS) a coordinated reporting
system and database on Baltic harbour porpoise sightings, by-catches and strandings.
Data was collected originally in 2004 within the Baltic Sea Porpoise and Jastarnia
projects. The original database was funded by the Federal Agency for Nature
Germany and the data was updated in HELCOM Secretariat in 2010 with financial
support from UNEP/ASCOBANS.
Currently, the database will be
updated as new information comes available. Latest updates (2016 data for
incidental sightings) to the database were included in February 2018.
The HELCOM Contracting Parties are asked
to use this
reporting form when
reporting harbour porpoise
data to HELCOM Secretariat. HELCOM SEAL 11-2017 meeting agreed
data form for
acoustic monitoring meta-data, which can be used for reporting acoustic
Note: the numbers on by-catch represent
a minimum of by-catches due to their common underreporting.
HELCOM MPA Database (former Baltic Sea
Protected Areas (BSPA) database) is designed to centralise relevant information on the Baltic Sea
Protected Areas. The database includes general information on the sites and
their management plans, as well as lists of species, biotopes, and biotope
HELCOM Seal database stores information on abundance of grey seal, harbour seal and ringed seal as gathered by HELCOM SEAL Expert Group based on counted seals.
The data collection activity has been supported by the BALSAM project (2013-2015, co-financed by the European Union DG Environment)and is carried on by the HELCOM SEAL EG. Figures represent counted numbers of seals during the standardized aerial surveys. The surveys are carried out during the species-specific peak moulting period when the proportion of individuals hauling out at their moulting sites/habitats is the highest. Numbers can be considered as minimum population estimates since a part of the population is always in the water and not reachable in the surveys.
Numbers can be viewed per sea area, but it must be noticed that outside of the moulting time seals can travel long distances and may be differently distributed to the Baltic Sea. The abundance data is produced by national seal monitoring executives within Contracting Parties.
Download Grey Seal Excel sheet
Download Harbour Seal Excel sheet
Download Ringed Seal Excel sheet
The maps below describe, as examples, habitat use of grey seals, harbour seals and ringed seals as gathered by HELCOM SEAL Expert Group based on seals marked with telemetry devices in several projects. The data aggregation activity has been supported by the BALSAM project (2013-2015; co-financed by the European Union DG Environment). The maps are based on data with two locations per day (closest to midnight and midday) for up to several months per individual.
See below density grids (number of locations per 5 x 5 km grid cell) of seals by species based on satellite telemetry. Note that the maps do not show the distribution of the whole population and can be used only as an informative overview of areas used by the few tagged individuals.
It comprises a database on observations
of alien species and physical features in ports, a list of target alien
species, a list of all marine and alien species observed in port surveys in the
region and an agreed risk assessment model.
This will allow administrations and ship
owners to quickly identify routes that may qualify for exemptions to the
application of ballast water management for ships (regulation B-3) and those
that are unlikely to.
The online tool is jointly administered by the
HELCOM and OSPAR Secretariats. It has been developed with funding through the
HELCOM Aliens 2, ALIENS 3 and BALSAM projects by HELCOM Secretariat and Germany
consult). The further development of the tool will be supported by the joint
task group of the two commissions on Ballast Water Management, which will
follow up on the implementation of the “Harmonised Procedure” in general.
Official HELCOM oil drift forecasting
system developed and administrated by SMHI (Swedish Meteorological and
Hydrological Institute), DCOO (Defence Center for Operational Oceanography,
Denmark) and BSH (Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, Germany).