From visionary goal to nutrient input ceilings – new fact sheet describes basis of BSAP

Goals, objectives, targets, NIC and MAI. The eutrophication segment of Baltic Sea Action Plan is filled of puzzling terminology. A new fact sheet from the Baltic Sea Centre describes how everything is connected – how the political vision of a healthy sea can be reached via the basin-wise Maximum allowable inputs and the country-wise Nutrient input ceilings.

Last year, an updated version of the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan was approved by all countries around the Baltic Sea, as well as the EU. The goal of the plan is to restore the common sea to a healthy and resilient state, and a prerequisite for that is that nutrient inputs are significantly reduced. In the BSAP all countries have agreed to reduce their inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus to the sea below a certain ceiling that should ensure that the Baltic would return to a state unaffected by eutrophication.

Bo Gustafsson, Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre.

Scientists at Stockholm University Baltic Sea Centre have played an important role in developing models and performing the calculations behind the establishment of these ceilings, and a recently published fact sheet describes the scientific basis behind the agreement.

– Many actors will work with the implementation of the BSAP, but probably few has knowledge about how the goals are set and how the calculations are done, says researcher Bo Gustafsson, who is the author of the fact sheet. 

The development of the nutrient reduction scheme has been an interplay between policymakers and scientists, where politicians set the goals and take the actual decisions and scientists provide information on what is needed to achieve the objectives.

– Knowledge about this process, the principles established and the considerations made, is not only important for understanding the targets as they are, but perhaps even more so to foster continued development of the complex eutrophication management of the Baltic Sea, means Bo Gustafsson.

Read the fact sheet:

Understanding how eutrophication is quantified in the HELCOM BSAP

Understanding how eutrophication is quantified in the HELCOM BSAP (681 Kb)  (layouted pdf)