Project themes

The HELCOM BalticBOOST project is structured around five themes that are further structured into separate workpackages.

Theme 1, Biodiversity, focuses on developing a biodiversity assessment tool and improving data arrangements for the biodiversity elements where this is limited (e.g. coastal fish, birds and seals) so that a comprehensive assessment of biodiversity in the Baltic Sea can be carried out by 2018. The status of seal populations is used as a case study to explore the possibility to align assessments under the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan, MSFD and the Habitats Directive.

Theme 2, Hazardous substances,
 is refining an existing HELCOM tool for assessing the status hazardous substances. Key components for adequate assessment of hazardous substances are to agree on matrices for indicators and to have access to quality assured data.

Theme 3, Physical loss and damage to seabed habitats, is, as a starting point, exploring ways to determine how much disturbance from different activities that specific seabed habitats can tolerate while remaining in Good Environmental Status (GES). A tool for assessing the impacts of fishing gear on specific habitat types and species is also developed.

Finally, an arrangement for regular collection of data and information on pressures and activities that affect the Baltic Sea is being piloted, to provide support to this Theme as well as future assessment of pressures impacting the Baltic Sea. With this information as a basis the project will propose joint principles for defining environmental targets for pressures affecting seabed habitats.

Theme 4, Noise, focuses on Underwater Noise and will review existing knowledge on impact of noise in the Baltic Sea, explore the possibility to determine acceptable levels of underwater noise for marine species, and survey possible measures to manage and mitigate relevant impacts on the Baltic Sea.

​Theme 5, Joint documentation of PoMs, supports the development of a joint document on regional coordinated Programmes of Measures and a system to follow-up actions agreed by HELCOM. ​