Species at Risk

A rich and varied biodiversity, composed of healthy stocks of marine species, plants and their habitats is crucial for the proper functioning of the Baltic ecosystem. Unfortunately many species are threatened and declining today due to human activities.

The HELCOM Red list of threatened and declining species of lampreys and fish of the Baltic Sea, lists threatened species of high priority. In total, 34 fish and lamprey species are red-listed, because of a severe decline in their stocks mainly provoked by overfishing. Those high-priority species also include thirteen different sharks and rays, as well as some highly commercialized fish species like Baltic cod and salmon.

Marine mammals, once frequent in the Baltic Sea, are also threatened today. The Baltic harbour porpoise suffered severe declines and is often caught accidentally and found dying in fishing nets. Other threats to harbour porpoises in the Baltic Sea include environmental toxins, underwater noise, vessel traffic and the construction of off-shore wind farms without proper impact assessments.