Scenario 3 – Northern Sea of Bothnia, the Kvarken and the Bay of Bothnia

Description of the area


The tense and conflicting Baltic Sea pushes energy production from the Gulf of Finland to the Gulf of Bothnia. The security of supply perspective brings out the versality of energy production, and a decentralised production structure is emphasised (decentralised, versatile and partly small-scale production is also emphasised on the mainland). Offshore wind farms are constructed also in the northern area (e.g., Oulu, Raahe, Pietarsaari and Kaskinen latitudes) while considering the interests of the Finnish Defence Force. The radar compensation area of the Bay of Bothnia has been expanded. International electricity transmission connections are also developed from the perspective of safety and security of supply, and cables are laid in the northern area as well. The safety of the Bay of Bothnia is emphasised, but the interests of the Finnish Defence Force are also reflected on the Bay of Bothnia (safeguarding infrastructure critical to the security of supply, such as nuclear power stations).


The ports of the area are safe and viable compared to the southern conflict ports and the aim is to keep them in Finnish ownership. The sea routes in the area are relatively safe and functional. Internal traffic in the area grows and ship traffic in the west–east direction and in the direction of the coast increases. The traffic difficulties of the Northern Sea Route also create opportunities for marine traffic in the area. On the other hand, the significance of the northern dimension is emphasised as traffic in the Baltic Sea is restricted.


Noise in the maritime area increases with the emphasis on northern ports. The intention is to safeguard the production of critical minerals found in the northern maritime area, which also affects the state of the marine environment. Hydraulic engineering increases in the Finnish Defence Force practice area, port areas and near electricity transmission cables, which has a negative effect on the state of the marine environment.


Coastal fishing is exercised in the Kvarken area especially around Vaasa and also in the northern part of the Bay of Bothnia to some degree. Trawling decreases as the interests of the Finnish Defence Force increase. Aquaculture increases substantially in the area, focusing in front of Kaskinen, Vaasa, Kalajoki, Oulu and Kemi in particular. The abundant increase in aquaculture also increases the need for forage fishing.


The arctic sea is a sweet spot of tourism, but stricter regulation negatively affects the pricing of flights, among other things, and thereby the foreign tourist volumes. The growth of tourism relies on increased domestic travel and attracting Swedish and Norwegian tourists to take a tour of the Bay of Bothnia. Cruise travel in the Bay of Bothnia invites people as a safe cruise route. The significance of nationally important shooting and practice areas is emphasised in the tense situation (such as Vattajanniemi in Kokkola’s Lohtaja).


Some of the built heritage sites crumble away as a result of the reduced tourism. Environmental destinations, on the other hand, are doing better as tourism and thereby traffic volumes decrease.


The high demand for minerals increases investments on the mineral industry. The prices of metals increase and the profit margins of steel mills improve, which in its part raises investments on these. Sand is extracted from the sea in the Bay of Bothnia. The increased dredging and hydraulic engineering impact the state of the marine environment. Maintaining and improving the condition requires substantial monitoring and sanctions.

Risks and opportunities

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


  • Risks include the growth of fishery, increased population in the coastal cities, emissions from ships, noise, sea accidents, need to dredge fairways, increased trawling in the north
  • Opportunities include better impact opportunities of the authorities, local clean energy production, preservation of natural diversity and cultural heritage in areas reserved for defence purposes
  • To be considered in particular in the planning of the maritime area: need for placement guidance modelling as background information, safeguarding the production of domestic fish protein, controlling the extraction of sand from the sea


  • Risks include the congestion of the northern maritime area, ending of Russian transition traffic (Port of Kokkola), expensive investments on new electricity transmission connections (production areas–consumption centres) which increase the price of energy
  • Opportunities include the increased trawling in the north, price development of natural fish, synergy benefits at sea, increased sea travel, focusing of maritime transport and port operations to the Gulf of Bothnia, seal as game, arctic tourism
  • To be considered in particular in the planning of the maritime area: cross-border cooperation, development of marine logistics, prevention of conflicts in different sectors, emphasised role of placement guidance, increasing the volume of basic knowledge, reserving areas for and promotion of research and innovation, floating solutions


  • Risks include the restriction of opportunities to participate, reduced investments, decline of democracy
  • Opportunities include the growth of a sense of community, increased domestic production, new maritime livelihoods and methods of operation (under duress), cooperation with Sweden
  • To be considered in particular in the planning of the maritime area: prevention of conflicts in local communities through coordination, participative planning, ensuring local recreation and cultural heritage, Finnish Defence Force practice areas (e.g., Vattaja)