Finland’s Territorial Waters are Managed by Metsähallitus
Finland’s territorial coastal waters and the sea floor in these areas are for the main part state-owned. The only exception is waters in the autocratic municipality of Åland. The waters surrounding Åland are the property of the municipality. Territorial waters spanning the entire coast and some of Finland’s larger internal waters are managed by Metsähallitus. On 1.1.2008 the combined area of these waters measured 24,350 sq. km.
Finland’s territorial waters include Finland’s coastal waters as well as larger lakes. Finland has outer and internal state-owned waters. Outer waters are also called territorial seas. The outer boundary of Finland’s internal territorial waters is a line connecting predetermined dots in the terrain. The dots are located on the mainland, on islets or reefs depending on what points of land are furthest out to sea. Finland’s outer territorial waters stretch from the afore-mentioned line to 12 nautical miles out to sea. In some cases the outer waters can be narrower, if the national boundary is closer to the mainland than this. Large lakes which qualify as territorial waters must be at least 8 km long and 8 km wide. There can also be some islands which are classified as territorial water areas.
In the inner archipelago on Finland’s sea coast there are also private waters. In these waters the regulations concerning fishing and hunting are different from those in state-owned territorial waters. The most significant private waters, which Metsähallitus manages, are:
- Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park
- Ekenäs Archipelago National Park
- Archipelago National Park
- Kvarken Islands - Norrskär and Storskär
- Rahja Archipelago
- Perämeri National Park
Within these areas there are private state-owned waters, which have been listed in the National Land Survey of Finland property registry as waters belonging to state-owned property which is either forest land or protected area. Part of the state-owned waters within the boundaries of Southwestern Archipelago National Park and Perämeri National Park are territorial waters. Additionally there may be private waters owned by private citizens in these areas.