Coastal areas play an important role in the Baltic Sea ecosystem and provide habitat for a great variety of living organisms. However, Baltic shorelines are also important areas for human activities and as such are of high economic interest. They increasingly support human uses and claims for space through transport, fishing, tourism, and energy generation and supply activities. HERRING looks at a typical ecosystem resource where these demands for space collide: coastal spawning grounds.
Herring is a meaningful example to look at as the species plays a crucial role in the food chain and the marine ecosystem and has a long tradition as food fish. Spawning and nursery habitats for the Baltic herring are found in south Baltic coastal waters, particularly in the German Greifswalder Bodden, the Polish Vistula Lagoon and the Swedish coast of Blekinge and Skåne, working as regional case studies in this project.
The management of these areas has to balance many claims and economic interests, so that their role as crucial prerequisites for the development of fish populations is often inadequately included into holistic management strategies. HERRING will account for this and aims at an improved integrated management of coastal ecosystems and of one of their key natural resources herring.
The activities will compile knowledge for the coastal case studies on their ecological condition, on the impacts of human activities, and on the multi-level institutions and management instruments governing the use and protection of coastal herring spawning grounds. On case study level, findings will be discussed between scientists, fishermen, coastal management and planning authorities on a regional and then transferred to the transnational level and be exchanged between case studies and countries to identify best-practice and possible intervention points for the introduction of new and improved forms of resource governance.
Consolidating the natural science results, the policy and the planning level, the project will develop strategy options and joint recommendations for an improved management of coastal areas as spawning habitats. Representatives of the targeted regional management authorities will be involved from the beginning and define basic requirements for resulting policy briefs. Overall, HERRING will achieve improved consideration of coastal spawning area management within overall integrated coastal and maritime management in the South Baltic area and foster the integrity of the Baltic Sea environment.