Gulf of Bothnia as Resource for Sustainable Growth (SmartSea)

The purpose of the SmartSea project is to support the growth of commercial marine activities in the Gulf of Bothnia region. The Gulf of Bothnia is an essential resource in terms of fish farming and wind power, for example, and it is also possible to make use of the geological natural resources of the gulf.

Furthermore, the Gulf of Bothnia is an area in which the climate change impacts the conditions to a notable extent, from the severity of ice winters to the abundance of the fish stock. The rapid growth of the commercial marine activities and the consequences of the climate change may lead to conflicts between the different activities and harm the marine ecosystem at the Gulf of Bothnia. The project aims to identify these risks and find solutions for the sustainable use of the sea.

Positive and negative impacts of the climate change identified

The SmartSea project involves an assessment of the ways in which the Gulf of Bothnia will change in the next decades. In addition to assessing the impacts of the climate change, the project aims to find out how the natural resources at the seabed can be used in a sustainable manner, map the risks imposed on the marine nature by commercial activities and develop new fish farming methods. An essential part of the project is identifying practical and administrative obstacles to 'blue growth', i.e. commercial activities related to the sea.

The project will develop a tool to weigh risks

SmartSea will also examine possible ways to mitigate the human-induced strain on marine environments by focusing such functions as fish farming and wind power production on specific areas. The project will produce a maritime spatial planning tool that can be used to weigh the risks of different activities, such as coastal construction, nature reserve areas and offshore activities. The key idea is that sustainable growth can only be attained by planning the use of sea areas wisely. At the same time, synergies between the activities can be increased.

The project is coordinated by the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and it is funded by the Academy of Finland Strategic Research Council. The project will last for six years and its funding totals nearly eight million euros. The project involves close to 40 researchers from eight institutions.

Further information

Jari Haapala, Head of Unit, Director of SmartSea consortium, Finnish Meteorological Institute
Tel. +358 40 757 3621

Markku Viitasalo, Research Professor, Vice Director of SmartSea consortium, Finnish Environment Institute
Tel. +358 29 525 1742

Published 2015-11-04 at 11:15, updated 2015-11-04 at 11:15