The Saimaa ringed seal (Pusa hispida saimensis) is one of the most endangered and rarest seals in the world. The current population size is 370–380 individuals. The Saimaa Seal LIFE project promotes the protection of the Saimaa ringed seal and the achieving of a favourable conservation status for it. The project implements the strategy and action plan for the protection of the Saimaa ringed seal, which has been drawn up under the leadership of the Ministry of the Environment, in broad cooperation with the key stakeholders.
The Saimaa Seal LIFE project approaches the protection of Saimaa ringed seals from a variety of different angles and seeks solutions through the joint efforts of a number of partners. The project produces a wide range of information for the planning of the protection measures as well as communication and environmental education to various target groups. It produces new information about the species. The objective is also to advance the development and use of the fishing methods that are safe for the Saimaa ringed seal in professional and recreational fishing. In addition, the aim is to investigate the effect of the human-induced disturbance on the Saimaa ringed seal population and to identify the possible risk areas and prevent disturbances by means of guidance.
The project is led by Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland, and the partners are South Savo Regional Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, the University of Eastern Finland, the National Resources Institute Finland, the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, WWF Finland, the Finnish Federation of Recreational Fishing, and the University of Turku. The Saimaa Seal LIFE project is being implemented from 2013 to 2018 and its cost estimate is about 5.26 million euros, of which the share of EU funding is about 3.95 million euros. Part of the funding is provided by the Ministry of the Environment, the Raija and Ossi Tuuliainen Foundation, and the Nestori Foundation.
Project Manager Raisa Tiilikainen, Metsähallitus, tel. +358 (0)206 39 5294, +358 (0)40 7541 449; email: raisa.tiilikainen(at)metsa.fi