Monitoring Requirements

Monitoring methodology

HELCOM common monitoring of relevance to the indicator is described on a general level in the HELCOM Monitoring Manual in the programme topic: Concentrations of contaminants.

Quality assurance in the form of international workshops and proficiency testing has been organized annually by QUASIMEME since 1993, with two rounds each year for water, sediment and biota.


Current monitoring

The monitoring activities relevant to the indicator that is currently carried out by HELCOM Contracting Parties are described in the HELCOM Monitoring Manual in the relevant Monitoring Concept Tables.

Sub-programme: Contaminants in biota
Monitoring Concept Table

Sub-programme: Contaminants in water
Monitoring Concept Table

Sub-programme: Contaminants in sediment
Monitoring Concept Table

Concentrations of cadmium, mercury and lead are being monitored by all the Baltic Sea countries. In addition to long-term monitoring stations of herring, cod, perch, flounder and eelpout, there is a fairly dense grid of monitoring stations for mussels and perch at the shoreline, but very few stations in the open areas of the Baltic Sea. The monitoring is, however, considered to be representative.


Description of optimal monitoring

Cadmium, mercury and lead concentrations are spatially highly varying in the Baltic Sea. Therefore, a dense network of monitoring stations is needed to have reliable overviews of the state of the environment. The monitoring should contain both long-lived and mobile species (herring, cod, flounder) and more local species (perch and shellfish).

Sediment monitoring can complement the assessment. Sediment represents longer timespans than biota (typically years vs. months), and are available in all places, whereas especially local species are not always available for spatial surveys. Time-trends from dated sediment cores in undisturbed (anoxic) areas can be a valuable source of information on the development in concentrations from before monitoring was started and even back to pre-industrialized times.

Monitoring of cadmium, mercury and lead is relevant in the entire sea area.