Indicator development for coastal fish
We are carrying out research on the development of indicators for and status assessments of caostal fish communities. The work is tightly related to the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) and Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), both within Sweden and internationally within HELCOM (the project HELCOM FISH PRO II).
The work on the national level concerns development of indicators and their link to important pressure variables for coastal fish, to enable status assessments of this important segment of biodiversity in the Baltic Sea. One aim is to be able to propose programs of measures for coastal fish to ensure and achieve good environmental status (GES) of coastal fish communities. The project is funded by the Swedish Agency for Water Management and mainly concerns research and reporting within the BSAP and MSFD. In parallell (between 2014-2016) a research project (Status assessment within the MSFD in the Baltic Sea – the coastal fish example) funded by the Swedish EPA mainly focusing on the relationship between indicators and important pressure variables and development of methods for status assessments of coastal fish is carried out. Another research project, WATERS, is also related to this work by developing indicators for coastal fish for the Water Framework Directive (WFD).
Sweden is the leading party of the HELCOM FISH PRO II project, and the other contracting parties are Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Poland, Germany and Denmark. By harmonising and coordinating coastal fish monitoring in the Baltic region, the network aims at further develop different assessment methodologies for coastal fish, including indicators with setting target and reference values. As such, the network provides scientific based advice to national authorities and ongoing HELCOM work on implementation of coastal fish related actions in the BSAP and the MSFD. Currently the work on indicators within the HELCOM FISH PRO II network is used as the basis for implementation of EU’s MSFD for coastal fish in the Baltic. Additional tasks include input on fish and lamprey species to the HELCOM Red List Project and advice on proposals for restoration programmes and measures for the most threatened and/or declining coastal fish species in the region. The current project period of HELCOM FISH PRO II lasts until 2018.