Published 28.11.2019

Metsähallitus takes hold of the Baltic Sea Challenge within the whole catchment area

Metsähallitus joins in with the Baltic Sea Challenge and promises more practical water conservation measures. The primary goal is to reduce the nutrient loads in the Baltic Sea and protect biodiversity.

‘Promoting the good status and sustainable use of state-owned sea and inland water areas it is one of the central themes of the Metsähallitus responsibility programme, and so it is natural for us to participate in the Baltic Sea Challenge,’ says Metsähallitus’s Director of Development Tapio Pouta.

‘The Baltic Sea Challenge has challenged us both to look at marine issues from the perspective of Metsähallitus as a whole and, on the other hand, to extend our perspective from just the coastal areas to the whole catchment area,’ Pouta continues.

Metsähallitus is participating in all five aims of the Baltic Sea Challenge, through which the different themes of the Metsähallitus responsibility programme are being implemented. The measures include both concrete restoration work as well as guidance work and monitoring.

The five main aims of the Baltic Sea Challenge are to develop state planning for use of sea areas, reduce nutrient loading in the Baltic Sea, restore valuable natural habitats, ensure that procurements are environmentally friendly, and develop responsible operations together with partners and stakeholder groups.

‘Metsähallitus is operating in an exemplary fashion for the protection of the Baltic Sea. We value their active approach and the broad scope of the marine conservation work they are carrying out. Metsähallitus is responsible for taking care of over 3,400,000 hectares of water areas. It is very significant that all these areas are now included in the Baltic Sea Challenge. The Metsähallitus Baltic Sea Action Plan also takes account of catchment area planning, which has a large positive impact on the state of the Baltic Sea. ‘We are very pleased to have Metsähallitus involved as a network partner in the Baltic Sea Challenge,’ says Baltic Sea Challenge Coordinator Mari Joensuu.

One of the central actions in the Baltic Sea Challenge is to create for Metsähallitus a planning procedure that covers the whole catchment area

‘More and more, we are looking at the state’s sea areas as a whole. We think about what measures can be used to safeguard the biodiversity of the Baltic Sea and achieve the objectives of good marine conditions combined with blue growth,’ explains Nature Conservation Manager Anu Riihimäki, who is responsible for marine nature and for coordinating the Baltic Sea Challenge at Metsähallitus.

‘Metsähallitus’s marine team collects information on underwater species and nature types from thousands of locations every year. This information is then available to us when we participate in national sea area planning,’ Riihimäki explains.

Metsähallitus’s objective is that wind power and domestic fish farming, which are good for mitigating climate change, could be located in the Baltic Sea through careful sea area planning in such a way that they would have as little negative effects as possible on the sea areas.

‘Another new measure we are carrying out is to assess the point source pollution outputs of properties along the Baltic Sea coastline and investigate methods for reducing these. We are also ensuring that our boats use non-toxic primer paint and environmentally friendly fuel,’ Riihimäki adds.

Metsähallitus is also seeing to the water conservation expertise of both its own personnel and its contractors. ‘All the Metsähallitus Oy planners and the contractors directing the implementation of forestry measures, a total of around 250 people, complete an online water conservation course,’ Riihimäki explains.

Metsähallitus is continuing to work actively to protect migratory fish stocks. ‘We have set as one of our goals for the Baltic Sea Challenge that we will halt the decline of mullet stocks and return these stocks to their former sea habitats,’ Riihimäki continues.

The Baltic Sea Challenge organisers an annual national Baltic Sea seminar, which this year is being held on 27 November. Metsähallitus Nature Conservation Manager Anu Riihimäki will be participating in the seminar’s panel discussion, which will be looking at the impact of environmental communications.

Further information:
Tapio Pouta
, Director of Development, Metsähallitus,, +358 (0)20 639 7442
Anu Riihimäki, Nature Conservation Manager, Metsähallitus,, +358 (0)20 639 4632

Baltic Sea challenge – Metsähallitus Baltic Sea Action Plan 2019-2023 (in Finnish)

The Baltic Sea Challenge is a international network focused on water conservation and the Baltic Sea which is free and open to all. The network participants have voluntarily committed to carrying out concrete water conservation measures beyond those required by the law and their own core operations. Within the network, participants find partners to work with, share information, and learn and act together for the good of the Baltic Sea and our local waters. Participating in the project are over 270 organisations within the area that are all committed to protecting the Baltic Sea.