Scenario 2 – Northern Sea of Bothnia, the Kvarken and the Bay of Bothnia

Description of the area

ENERGY

Extensive offshore wind power areas are created in the open sea, and large wind farms are built at Kaskinen, Kalajoki and Oulu latitudes, for example. The coordination of wind power construction, other use and environmental values is emphasised in the maritime area. There is more research data concerning the maritime area and cooperation with Sweden has been realised. Peat, for example, is being developed into higher added-value products and it is no longer used as energy.

MARITIME TRANSPORT

The volume of maritime transport increases in general and some of truck traffic volumes transfers to sea transport. Traffic parallel to the coast as well as passenger and small transport increase. The clean sea in the area attracts tourists. Accessibility and services of the archipelago improve especially in the Kvarken.

STATE OF THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT

Hydraulic construction is controlled strictly so as not to endanger the ecological status of the area. Load from agriculture and forestry has been successfully decreased significantly, which improves the state of the maritime area. The visibility of coastal waters is very good. The maritime environment has the best state compared to other planning areas. Natural fish populations are improving, which promotes recreational fishing and demand for guide services.

FISHING AND AQUACULTURE

The environmentally friendly development and placement of fishing and aquaculture is strongly supported. Migratory fish population have recovered and migration barriers have been removed. Fishing activity is rich and it focuses on the Kvarken and the northernmost areas of the Bay of Bothnia. Utilisation of cyprinids increases. Identification of regional issues (such as seals). Environmental regulation restricts the increase of aquaculture and some aquaculture facilities are located in the Bay of Bothnia financial zone and in front of Pietarsaari.

TOURISM AND RECREATIONAL USE

Tourism and recreational use increase significantly in the area, focusing near the coast in connection with cities, archipelagos and nature conservation areas. The electrification of short-haul flights allows the growth of international passenger streams from a short distance. Climate change has not melted the ice layer of the sea, and maritime nature safaris (incl. offshore wind farms) attract tourists to the north in the summer and in the winter. “Icy desert” is a major attraction of the area. Tourists want to be a part of the local archipelago culture, and residents on the coast provide opportunities for this via digital platforms. Tourists stay in the area for longer periods of time and the clean marine environment is utilised extensively as a resource for arctic maritime tourism. Instead of and in addition to tourism to the Archipelago Sea, tourism also attracts and brings people to the northern area.

CULTURAL HERITAGE

The sustainable use of national parks increases steadily with the increased domestic tourism. Foreign tourists also find their way to the area. Tourists are interested in cultural heritage sites, such as lighthouses and fisher villages. The good water quality and the unique submarine cultural heritage of the northern area also attract divers. The submarine cultural heritage is protected.

MARITIME INDUSTRY AND MINERALS

Maintaining a good state of the marine environment steers the development of operations (cf. central treatment plants established and centralised port operations). Developed process technology and chemistry create new opportunities for the minerals and maritime industries in the area where cleanliness is an obvious selling point. Operations concerning the seafloor harmful to the environment are focused near urban areas and by the fairways. Dredged material is placed sustainably (filling of ports, noise banks etc.) and is utilised to an even higher degree.

Risks and opportunities

Northern Sea of Bothnia, the Kvarken and the Bay of Bothnia

ECOLOGICAL STATE OF THE SEA

  • Risks include nutrient load from aquaculture, consumption impact and lack of coordination of regional tourism and recreational use, increased maritime transport, dredging needs, weakening of ecosystems (wind power plants, construction), alien spaces, traffic accidents at the sea
  • Opportunities include the improvement of the state of the environment, new projects and the related subsidies and effects on employment, technological development of ships
  • To be considered in particular in the planning of the maritime area: steering of the placement of activities (incl. tourism), adequate conservation and natural areas, preserving cultural heritage, management of the cultural heritage of the maritime area shared with Sweden, shallow coastal areas, combination of economic activity and environmental values

SUSTAINABLE GROWTH OF BLUE ECONOMY

  • Risk include expensive investment costs, increased mass tourism, threats related to fish farming
  • Opportunities include new innovations and livelihoods, significant growth of renewable energy production, improved energy self-sufficiency, biotechnology, new minerals (phosphorus), fishing tourism, income and investments from increased tourism, northern ring route of tourism (Finland+Sweden)
  • To be considered in particular in the planning of the maritime area: the role of the coordinator, coordination of fish farming and wind power, guidance of small businesses by means of planning, assessment of joint impacts

PEOPLE’S WELL-BEING AND PARTICIPATION

  • Risks include the small scale of businesses, inadequate capital for the development of infrastructure, nuisance to the scenery caused by wind power (vs. unobstructed seascapes), lack of navigation skills
  • Opportunities include sustainable consumption patterns, archipelago as a place of living, improved self-sufficiency (small production), keeping the northern maritime area and village communities inhabited
  • To be considered in particular in the planning of the maritime area: preservation of natural and uninhabited shores, adequate area reservations for recreation, safeguarding general accessibility, engaging the local level, resourcing of interactive planning