Overview

Global trade flows become concentrated and the market liberal EU is deregulating. Global large corporations invest in Finland in logistics and submarine data centres, among other things. The interests of companies and cities are steering the development more than the state and finding a shared political will is difficult. In addition to food production, maritime areas are being utilised especially as raw material for high added value products for the needs of companies. The high demand for resources leads to the expansion of the mining industry to the Baltic Sea, especially the Archipelago Sea area (e.g., battery technology, pharmaceuticals industry). Significant new innovations in the exploration of the seabed and the utilisation of nutrients. Increased environmental radicalism driven by individuals and small groups.

Population concentrates in the biggest cities around the Baltic Sea (incl. St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, Turku) and the significance of other shore cities reduces. The communities grow in Helsinki and Turku in particular and storm water flows from cities increase. The lack of joint immigration policy on the EU level leads to an uncontrolled refugee crisis. Climate refugeeship increases the passenger flows over the Baltic Sea and requires a new kind of cooperation and border operations between states. The majority of maritime traffic concerns the Gulf of Finland, around the metropolitan area.

Concern over the environment is increasing and climate issues become a central focus of politics. The state participates actively in different methods of conservation, and private persons, municipalities, parishes and companies also become active in natural conservation. Consumers are more and more environmentally aware and the ecological footstep steers consumption (e.g., cruise compensations). People’s personal choices also strongly guide companies towards providing sustainable solutions. New business models are searched under the terms of sustainability, and Finland is a forerunner in the development of sustainable technology. Current cleantech and biotechnology clusters gain strength (e.g. algae farming). The security status on the Baltic Sea is stable as the attention of superpowers is focused elsewhere.

Urbanization continues, but people seek clean nature in increasing volumes. New housing trends (such as living in several places, compact small houses, cottages for round-the-year use) and the transformation of work life (remote work etc.) increase the popularity of the archipelago also for living. Infrastructure, traffic connections and services improve in the archipelago and pedestrian and bicycle traffic increases.

The power struggle between global superpowers has escalated into a trade war and geopolitical tensions also increase. The uncertain security situation reduces investments. There is friction between the western countries and Russia in particular. The restrictions to funding caused by sanctions also make it difficult to execute environmental cooperation projects in Russia. The likelihood of the military threat becoming realised is small, but the Finnish Defence Force still has strong interests with regard to the maritime area. Tight cooperation and increased integration between the EU countries stabilise Finland’s situation, however. No global climate treaties have been reached, but EU still tries to lead by example and significantly tightens its environmental politics. EU’s Water Framework Directive is interpreted more extensively from the perspective of sustainable development while also considering the perspectives of social and economic sustainability.

Mobility increases within the EU and Europe continues to urbanize as the ageing population moves to nearby cities. People pack into cities also in Finland, and the biggest coastal cities keep their vitality. Ageing people in particular move to coastal cities due to the declining infrastructure of the archipelago. Vital operations of the society are faced with more and more cyber threats as a part of hybrid influencing.

Energy

Environmental politics are ineffective as development is driven largely by companies and technology, and we are not getting rid of fossil fuels as we wanted. The use of peat also increases the marine nutrient load. The demand for energy increases in the Baltic Sea due to the electrification of the society (e.g., 5G network, traffic, smart cities), and large production facilities are favoured. Offshore wind power is built by large global corporations as very extensive farms with little regulation (on the open sea), which results in conflicts with regard to the use of the maritime areas.

Wind power is difficult to develop in the Gulf of Finland due to restrictions of the Finnish Defence Force, inhabitation and migratory paths of birds. Offshore wind farms are mostly placed in the western parts of the Gulf of Finland in front of Helsinki, Porkkalanniemi and Hanko, although companies are not willing to invest on wind power in such restricted conditions. Import of energy from Russia is emphasised and new investments are made on the Loviisa power station.

With the onshore wind power capacity fully utilised and increased energy prices, there is more interest towards offshore wind power. Offshore wind power is constructed to the Archipelago Sea and the southern part of the Sea of Bothnia, but less attention is paid to conservation. The shallow depth is beneficial for the construction of offshore wind power. In the Sea of Bothnia, offshore wind power is placed in front of Pori and Rauma and loosely from Uusikaupunki to Pori, perhaps also Merikarvia. More and more land is owned by big corporations which, in this region, may mean that maritime industry companies are interested in acquiring strips of land on the shore.

The technically and economically easiest offshore sites are utilised for energy production (the closest available space near the shore in shallow areas). Offshore wind power increases in front of Kemi-Tornio and Raahe, Pietarsaari and Kaskinen in particular. Industrial greenwashing projects with a climate perspective are constructed near existing industrial and port infrastructure. Other environmental values and comprehensive coordination are neglected in the placement of industry.

Forms of renewable energy production (incl. solar and wind power) become significantly more common and emission-free forms of energy become cheaper. As storage technology improves, the production of energy becomes decentralized, and the improved storage capacity also increases the demand for wind power. The search for renewable forms of energy is strong by means of environmental policy and the state supports the connection of offshore wind power to the grid (e.g., Denmark). Due to the investment environment favourable to offshore wind power, the stabile security situation and the development of technology, production is profitable also further from the shore. The combination of wind power and other forms of energy gives integration benefits with the increasing electric maritime transport, for example. Wind power farms also become more and more tourist attractions.

Positive political guidance (e.g., subsidies grid connections, favourable taxation) allow the rapid development of wind power. Wind power is integrated with other energy production in the area to support the electrification of maritime transport. In addition to the western Gulf of Finland, offshore wind power is also constructed in front of Porvoo. With the development of energy storage technology, wind power farms are also used for the storage of energy (so-called modern grain silos). The increased electrical sea transport creates a need for maritime charging points alongside the fairways. Multi-use wind parks are an attraction symbolising the blue technology leap. Small nuclear power plants become more popular and the decentralized energy production creates new types of accident risks in the area.

Offshore wind power is built especially on the exclusive economic zone to the south from Åland and the Sea of Bothnia far from the shore, considering the environment and total economical (front of Pori and Rauma, from Uusikaupunki to Pori and on to Merikarvia). The state steers the construction (incl. subsidies), but also companies are realizing the potential of offshore wind power. The development of green technology has progressed so that building offshore wind farms further and further to the sea is profitable. This resolves the conflict between the nuisance/visual harm caused by offshore wind power and tourism in the area and thereby improves attitudes towards offshore wind power. The electrification of the archipelago becomes an issue when electric boats and habitation in the archipelago increase.

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.

A joint energy union of the EU is created and energy self-sufficiency on the European level is emphasised. Security of supply and joint ambitious emission targets are emphasised in the harmonised energy market. The European Union subsidies renewable energy production forms, which in the Baltic Sea means direct subsidies to offshore wind power and the construction of wind power stations alongside the transmission cables. Coal is still, however, used in the production of energy to balance the variation of production in other countries. As the situation is tense, energy production is decentralised in order to minimise vulnerability.

EU’s energy union and the opposition of the Finnish Defence Force to the construction of wind power cause a conflicting situation in the Gulf of Finland. This prevents any significant construction of wind power in the Gulf of Finland. The energy union brings cables to the seafloor, connecting various areas, and the Gulf of Finland is used as an energy transmission platform. Production is decentralised and storage is developed.

Energy production areas are primarily selected based on the security of supply, which may lead to the decentralisation of energy production. Åland has energy production as a demilitarised zone to support its self-sufficiency. Offshore wind power becomes more common in the southern Sea of Bothnia. The energy union increases cable connections from the west coast to the direction of Sweden.

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 Environment and Condition of the Maritime Area

The Baltic Sea has regressed to a difficult patient as eutrophication and oxygen loss aggravate in all maritime areas. The increasing vessel traffic and hydraulic engineering reduce biodiversity, and introduced species become more abundant. Nutrients from agricultural emissions leach into the Baltic Sea more and more due to abundant raining and the nutrient load increases. Extreme weather phenomena caused by climate change, such as heavy rainfall and coastal area flooding are becoming more common. The increased rain and runoff water reduce the salt content of the Baltic Sea which hinders the living conditions of key species and communities. The sea level is increasing and affecting coastal areas especially during storms. Ice layer during the winter is also significantly smaller.

The state of the maritime area clearly collapses in the Gulf of Finland: the salt content decreases, species decrease, eutrophication accelerates and alien species become more common. Especially the growth of the capital region (traffic, erosion, littering etc.) and the increase in hazardous substances with the increased maritime traffic cause a burden to the Gulf of Finland. Agricultural load is particularly important in the eastern Gulf of Finland (catchment basins). The growth of St. Petersburg increases challenges related to waste water in the Baltic Sea. Water pollution from forestry and the use of peat also increases in the Gulf of Finland.

Both autonomous and traditional vessels are seen in the maritime area, which increases the monitoring of sea transport. The Archipelago Sea area benefits from new remote control centres as the area has extensive competence and education in the field of shipping. On the other hand, the region is challenging for automated sea transport. Maritime industry and new maritime transport solutions generate lots of vitality in the area, and with university education in the field, the area becomes an internationally renowned centre of blue technology and modern shipping. The reduction of the ice layer increases the number of vessels moving in the area, and in the future, vessels will be able to operate without ice classification and with smaller engines, thereby causing less emissions. The increased sea traffic also increases the risk of accident in the archipelago. Ports are merged and some move to foreign ownership.

Vessel traffic between states also increases in the northern maritime area and the Vaasa–Uumaja connection is developed further. The transport of goods is transferred nationally to more loosely populated regions. The development of the area proceeds under the terms of big businesses, and the interests forest industry, for example, are strongly reflected in area planning. Some of the northern ports have been sold to foreign ownership and large port entities are doing well. The operation of small ports gets more difficult and port mergers take place in the area. The volume of touring cruisers increases and some also stop for a day in the northern ports. Autonomous shipping increases significantly in the Bay of Bothnia (after the introduction of test areas) and some routes are operated with autonomous vessels.

The state of the Baltic Sea is seen as an international environmental issue, and the total benefits of a clean sea are mainly recognized in all the Baltic Sea countries. Conservation measures are promoted significantly, and shared monitoring systems with impact are constructed. The harmful impact of climate change on the weather at the Baltic Sea also turns out to be less severe than expected. Agricultural nutrient load and other activities causing load on the ground reduce (incl. changes in eating habits, stricter water protection in the agriculture, improved purification of municipal sewage, circular economy solutions), which promotes the improvement of the maritime area’s condition. Eutrophication is managed and blue-green algae are no longer an issue every summer. Increased awareness also reduces the littering of the Baltic Sea. The processing of sewage of (passenger) vessels also improvesand the spreading of alien species is brought under control.

Natural fish populations are doing well and the harmful spreading of alien species has been prevented. Nutrient load from the ground has been reduced successfully, eutrophication is under control and algae is only observed moderately in the summer. New circular economy systems are created in the Gulf of Finland area supported by the good infrastructure in the area.

The state of the marine environment has also improved in the Archipelago Sea and the impacts of forestry and agriculture have been reduced as a result of a change in the political climate. People take care of the environment, move around and live in the archipelago ecologically (recycling, electrical transport etc.). The environmental load caused by communities is reduced and stores favour locally produced and sustainable products. The load caused by cruise tourism has been reduced and more and more cruise ships sail the Baltic Sea with the help of new environmentally friendly technologies. The submarine noise caused by sea traffic is brought under control.

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.

As the tensions grow, also maritime areas are reserved increasingly for defence use. Environmental cooperation with Russia is challenging and interaction is reduced, which has a negative impact on the state of the maritime environment. EU takes on a strong role in climate action. Attempts are made to stop eutrophication by means of regulation, decelerating the weakening of the state of the marine environment. Microplastics are banned in the EU, but this does not solve the problem as there are no global treaties on the matter. Signs of climate change can be observed in the weather conditions, but the Baltic Sea is still a favourable environment for many sources of livelihood.

The state of the maritime area in the Gulf of Finland continues to decline. With the tensions, the role of the Finnish Defence Force increases in the Gulf of Finland, and the possible increase in defence force areas restricts the establishment of new nature conservation areas, among other things. The islands closed due to the defence forces retain their natural state. The increased number of seafloor cabling due to the energy union may have a harmful effect on the marine nature.

The state of the maritime environment is a continuum of the current state. Cattle production in Finland Proper decreases, but field cultivation areas do not decrease because the pressure to produce nutrition remains unchanged or increases, partly due to reasons related to the security of supply. The Sea of Bothnia is a “forgotten area”, and as a result, the state of the marine environment is the best there. The presence of the Finnish Defence Force improves the condition of nature in the defence areas due to the restricted use. Aquaculture increases, which causes a threat to the state of the marine environment in the area.

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.

Tourism and Recreational Use

Tourist interest is focused on the large cities and cultural heritage of the Baltic Sea and tourism focuses near the cities. Cultural heritage sites are bought from the state to private use, which endangers the preservation of cultural heritage (e.g., areas released by the Finnish Defence Force). Quick access is seen as an advantage of the Baltic Sea cities, and the cultural history of the region interests Asian tourists, for example. Due to the increasing effect of climate change, also German tourists are moving from the Mediterranean to the easily reachable Baltic Sea destinations. Cruise travel in the Baltic Sea increases strongly (e.g., large hotel ships). The poor condition of the maritime environment and privatization of areas (e.g., submarine data centres) reduce nature and cultural tourism in the archipelago and create prohibited areas. Activism tourism also increases.

The negative effects of climate change elsewhere bring tourists to Finland. The large tourist volumes to the Gulf of Finland cause a burden to the maritime environment, and the region has to balance between the increased tourism and sustainability. The negative impact of large cruise ships are reflected on the nature and the submarine cultural heritage. The cities of the Gulf of Finland and the nearby archipelago benefit from the increased cruise travel, and one-day stops in Finland energise the companies of the region. Industrial tourism attracts foreign tourists in Loviisa and Kotka. Recreational use of the sea has diminished in the Gulf of Finland due to the degeneration of the ecosystem. The privatisation of maritime areas weakens everyman’s rights and makes recreational use and private boating more difficult. Massive cruise travel may also reduce recreational use if the cruise ships cause considerable waste water discharges.  

(incl. cultural heritage) The preservation of the archipelago’s cultural heritage and traditional means of livelihood are at risk. Tourists choose large cruises which result in little benefit to the ports or tourism businesses of the archipelago. Mass tourism focuses on a couple of easy-to-reach targets (such as Örö and Utö). In addition, “artificial” tourist attractions are created. The other forms of use of the maritime area restrict tourism. Permanent habitation of the archipelago reduces and further weakens the service offering. On the other hand, the vitality and attractiveness of cities in the Baltic Sea area increases, which brings opportunities to the archipelago near Turku, among other things. Other cities are also interesting in terms of cultural heritage (e.g., Rauma), but this requires good connections either via the cruise or over land. Activism tourism, on the other hand, brings people to the archipelago for various kinds of nature management tasks.

Tourism focuses on the largest cities (Oulu and Vaasa). Marine military and cultural sites are taken into tourism use. International tourists take over the maritime sites, even at the expense of recreational use by residents. “Arctic Sea” gains popularity as an incentive travel destination and supporter of positive image of big corporations. Seals are marketed as an attraction to lucrative hunting tourism.

The calm and clean environment and the service packages offered by archipelago residents in digital platforms attract new tourists to the Baltic Sea from nearby countries (incl. cultural and nature tourism). The culture of shared use blooms in the capital region in particular where digital peer-to-peer services have become a part of daily life (e.g., skipperi.com and doerz.com). With the increased climate awareness, Finns also start to favour tourism in nearby regions which increases the popularity of the archipelago as a recreational area. Local culture and nature tourism services are appreciated and also traditional trades gain strength. As tourism businesses increase, the majority of tourism concerns the Archipelago Sea and nature sites.

The archipelago of the Gulf of Finland is still quiet and, on the other hand, urbane conditions combine with the archipelago in Kotka, Hanko and Helsinki which together form an even tourism and recreational zone on the entire shore of the Gulf of Finland. Digital platforms and shared use allow the growth of tourism and recreation in the Gulf of Finland in particular due to the adequate residential base (such as skipper.com, doerz.com, bout.com). New forms of tourism, such as submarine nature trails, are introduced. Living in two places (and dual municipal residency) is emphasized especially in the Gulf of Finland. Digitalisation and the transition of working life promote the popularity of remote work, and the improved infrastructure allows commuting from the archipelago (cf. Stockholm).

(incl. cultural heritage) Sustainability is emphasised in tourism in the area and people use sustainable transport connections. Private boating becomes electric and e-boats and the increased popularity of sailboats put pressure on the addition and development of marinas in the area and the improvement of waste processing (such as sorting, sewage). Nature tourism increases with the improved diversity and the increased appreciation of the nature. Tourism destinations include several villages in the archipelago. Nature tourism is implemented in a decentralised manner, and people do not concentrate extensively on specific areas. Access to the most sensitive areas is restricted. The archipelago culture and long history of the area attract tourists, and cultural heritage becomes a naturally integrated part of the area’s image.

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.

The citizens’ feeling of security suffers from the increased tension and information influencing. Tourism becomes more difficult, and hardly any tourists visit the Baltic Sea anymore. Cruises to Russia also decrease. The political tensions (such as flyover bans) are a part of the reason, but also personal travel emission budgets reduce tourism. Local recreation becomes a trend and tourism is the luxury of few wealthy people (a seascape becomes a privilege). Many cultural heritage sites are held by the Finnish Defence Force. There is increased pressure of use in popular tourism and recreation destinations such as the Suomenlinna sea fortress. Instead of the Gulf of Finland, tourism potential focuses on the safe and peaceful Bay of Bothnia (incl. branding of silence and darkness). 

Foreign tourist streams to the Gulf of Finland are reduced and the regional tourism and recreation trend is not fully adequate to make up for this, even though the migration gain of the area increases the local tourism and recreational use of the area by residents. Only Hanko and Helsinki are able to retain their favourable position amongst tourists.  The weakening of the Russian connection has a highly negative impact on tourism in the Gulf of Finland, and cruise tourists from St. Petersburg no longer visit the ports of the Gulf of Finland. The possible expansion of Finnish Defence Force areas in front of Kotka and Porkkala hinders the recreational use of these areas. The seascape becomes a luxury product, and proximity to the shore is a subject of competition between several interested parties. The cabling projects which have increased with the energy union hinder recreational boating, which reduces the attraction of the maritime area for recreational use.

(incl. cultural heritage) Destinations near the cities (such as Ruissalo, Yyteri) are important for tourism, and the significance of coastal archipelago increases in the area. People seek some luxury and an escape from the daily life from the nature and the proximity of the sea. Tourism destinations in the archipelago are decreasing in number, however, and the remaining local recreational areas are pressed hard due to tourism overload. Permanent residents leave the archipelago, which also weakens the services of the area from the perspective of tourism. Cultural history destinations of the coastal archipelago and the Sea of Bothnia still attract people and gain in popularity in the changing world. The poor condition of the maritime environment reduces nature tourism and private boating, among other things. The Sea of Bothnia becomes more attractive (cleanliness and safety).

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).

Fishing and Aquaculture

Many species of fish are pushed into a corner as the living environments change, and the changes in species impact fishing. Key species such as bladder wrack disappear and the Baltic Sea’s ecosystem shakes. Commercial fishing for food reduces significantly due to the water quality and the fishing of forage fish increases. Typical sweetwater fish species become more common and fishing fleet more centralised (trawling further away from the shore). Foreign demand for fish is strong and exports of fish products increase. The increased water temperature hinders aquaculture in the south and the pressure to move towards the north increases. Aquaculture increases as it becomes more profitable and companies focus their production on larger and larger units. Large facilities are located primarily according to excellent cultivation conditions (cf. according to nutrient load).

Fish species are in poor condition due to the poor state of the maritime area, which weakens the possibilities for fishing in the area.  Various alien species may be found in the Gulf of Finland due to the increased maritime traffic. Leisure fishing increases slightly especially in front of Hanko and Kotka, but the poor condition of the sea reduces the popularity of fishing. Foreign demand for fish is strong, which is reflected in the increase of aquaculture in the area. Aquaculture facilities are set up in the most profitable areas of the Gulf of Finland, in front of Porvoo, for example. Due to the development of technology, blue mussel and algae are farmed for use in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries, among other things.

The possible dismantling of the quota-based regulation system under the companies’ terms threatens the sustainable fishing of fish populations. The utilisation of fish stock is controlled by the perspective of companies’ long-term profit maximisation. Logistics develop and production volumes increase driven by big companies, which allows the launching of new fish-based products through local university cooperation. The competence of the universities of Turku support the development of high added-value products (such as using algae in biofuels). Aquaculture potential is already largely in use in the Archipelago Sea and the focus moves to southern Sea of Bothnia and large farming units. The aquaculture facilities in the area attract foreign investors. From the perspective of livelihoods, the significance of the shore reduces, which weakens the regional economy.

Commercial fishing for food ends or changes into fishing of forage fish, which increases significantly. The removal of migration barriers is cancelled and migratory fish populations decrease even further. Typical sweet water fish species become more common (vendace, pike, pike-perch, bass) and the fishing of vendace increases in particular; vendace is trawled further away from the shore. Open sea fishing focuses on the Kvarken. Leisure fishing decreases due to the deterioration of the sea and loss of skills. The increased water temperature hinders aquaculture in the south and the pressure to move towards the north increases. The placement of aquaculture facilities is determined based on profitability and production focuses in the front of Kaskinen/Kristiinankaupunki near offshore wind farms, in front of Pietarsaari and most powerfully to the Bay of Bothnia, north of Hailuoto. The grey seal population grows in the north, making coastal fishing more difficult.

Natural fish populations gain strength and professional and leisure fishing increase within the boundaries allowed by the environment when the demand for wild fish increases. The increased consumption of natural fish and fishing, on the other hand, remove nutrients which have already ended up in the Baltic Sea. The popularity of Baltic herring in food also increases when toxicity levels decrease and cyprinid populations diminish. The vitality of the archipelago guarantees good opportunities for fishing entrepreneurs, but also private and coastal fishing increase within the boundaries allowed by the environment in the archipelago and the Bay of Bothnia in particular. Strict environmental regulation restricts the increase of large-scale aquaculture on the sea and fish farming in closed water systems becomes more common, especially on the ground. The combined production level of aquaculture remains unchanged, focusing on the open sea where it causes the least harm to the marine environment. Aquaculture is increasingly located by wind power parks in the open sea. 

Fish populations are doing well as a result of the improved state of the marine environment. The fragmentation of private water bodies, on the other hand, makes the situation more difficult for fishing enterprises. Recreational fishing gains popularity as people become interested in the archipelago, and the demolition of water power stations in the rivers further promotes fishing tourism. The Porkkalanniemi and Hanko territorial waters attract fishers. The stricter environmental regulation hinders aquaculture, but the stopping of the eutrophication development may enable aquaculture, but within the carrying capacity of the environment. The supply of fish farmed domestically still does not match the demand and lots of fish is imported from other countries. The cultivation of blue mussels is focused on western Gulf of Finland, in the front of Hanko in particular, whereas conditions are favourable for algae farming throughout the Gulf of Finland.

Professional fishing sustains and grows stronger in the archipelago, especially in the form of coastal fishing. The fisher trade becomes more varied and expands into the sales of tourism and recreational services and the sales of processed products. Young fish are grown in circulating water facilities at the coast, and further growing moves to the open sea areas of the Archipelago Sea and southern Sea of Bothnia. The Archipelago Sea attracts lots of recreational fishers. Fishers and aquaculturers work together, offering fishing trips. The increased nature and experience tourism also increases interest towards fishing as a trade and the aquaculture technology. Increased innovation also expands the opportunities to use fish, algae and mussels in the pharmaceuticals industry, among other things. University competence in the area supports the R&D work for new products.

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.

As EU’s environmental politics become tighter, the taxation of meat is increased and a fish and vegetable-based diet becomes significantly more common. Meat is a luxury product, whereas aquacultured fish is everyday food. The interests of the Finnish Defence Force impede trawling in the open sea and fishing focuses on the coast. EU’s agricultural policy relies on more productive areas and aquaculture in the Baltic Sea is subsidised. Efforts to reach self-sufficiency in the production of protein and the improved state of water due to stricter regulation increase aquaculture and production becomes multifold, focusing on the Bay of Bothnia and the Archipelago Sea in particular. The use of domestic fish and the utilisation of side streams generated by it as well as processing (e.g., bio-oil) increase significantly. Various blue bioeconomy innovations also increase the demand for raw materials from the Baltic Sea (such as cosmetics and the medicine).

The reduction of civil transport in the maritime area affects fishery and trawling. The small volume of fishing is evenly distributed on the coast of the Gulf of Finland except the Helsinki region. The tensions between the countries in the region reduce the export of fish to Russia, although foreign trade making up for this may be obtainable elsewhere, such as from China. Aquaculture grows multifold in front of Hanko and Helsinki, among others, which compensates the weakened possibilities for fishing.

Fish caught by fishing is a luxury product and recreational fishing gains popularity. The biggest coastal cities of the area offer fishing tourism on fishing boats in the nearby waters. Due to the deteriorated condition of the sea, new species find their way to the area, including the air-breathing catfish. Aquacultured fish becomes everyday food as the consumption of meat decreases. Load to the waters has become a part of food policy control from the perspective of the total load caused by food production and production facilities concentrate on the southern parts of the Sea of Bothnia in particular as the production of pork and chicken has died down. In addition to tax control, load quotas are distributed/bought between agriculture and fishery within catchment areas. The nutrient load quotas are set on a sustainable level. Fur farming has been prohibited due to stricter regulation. Major changes in the utilisation of the Baltic herring catch are needed as a result. The transition is subsidised by the state.

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.

Maritime Transport

The development of data communications and autonomous technology rapidly affect logistics. Autonomous vessels are becoming more common in the Baltic Sea and the existing fairways are expanded and deepened. People and goods move fluently in cities and growth corridors, but on the other hand, transport to sparsely populated areas becomes slower and more expensive. The Helsinki–Tallinn tunnel is constructed with the support of Chinese investments, which has an impact on passenger traffic in particular. The volume of maritime logistics and vessel size increase and new solutions are being developed under the companies’ terms (incl. separate logistical networks of companies). Traffic in the Arctic Sea also increases steadily as the ice layer melts, and the logistical importance of the Northern Sea Route increases (Chinese interests, Arctic Ocean Railway).

The growth of maritime transport causes the need to build additional port infrastructure (especially for passenger traffic) and to obtain new areas of expansion for ports. Accident risks on the Gulf of Finland increase with the increasing maritime traffic (increased risk of oil and chemical accident). Autonomous vessels also create a new kind of safety threat to the busy Gulf of Finland. The Helsinki–Tallinn tunnel and Rail Baltica (Warsaw to Tallinn) increase passenger traffic. Traffic integration also possibly contains a one-hour rail connection to St. Petersburg and an electrical cable under the Gulf of Finland. Commuting moves to the faster train connection and some work-related travel and leisure travel continue on ships, which keeps the ship traffic volumes close to the current level. The volume of touring cruise ships has increased.

Both autonomous and traditional vessels are seen in the maritime area, which increases the monitoring of sea transport. The Archipelago Sea area benefits from new remote control centres as the area has extensive competence and education in the field of shipping. On the other hand, the region is challenging for automated sea transport. Maritime industry and new maritime transport solutions generate lots of vitality in the area, and with university education in the field, the area becomes an internationally renowned centre of blue technology and modern shipping. The reduction of the ice layer increases the number of vessels moving in the area, and in the future, vessels will be able to operate without ice classification and with smaller engines, thereby causing less emissions. The increased sea traffic also increases the risk of accident in the archipelago. Ports are merged and some move to foreign ownership.

Vessel traffic between states also increases in the northern maritime area and the Vaasa–Uumaja connection is developed further. The transport of goods is transferred nationally to more loosely populated regions. The development of the area proceeds under the terms of big businesses, and the interests forest industry, for example, are strongly reflected in area planning. Some of the northern ports have been sold to foreign ownership and large port entities are doing well. The operation of small ports gets more difficult and port mergers take place in the area. The volume of touring cruisers increases and some also stop for a day in the northern ports. Autonomous shipping increases significantly in the Bay of Bothnia (after the introduction of test areas) and some routes are operated with autonomous vessels.

The harmful impacts of maritime logistics on the environment reduce as a result of improved environmental awareness, technological development, cleaner fuels, local production and circular economy solutions. Vessel traffic increasingly switches to fuel cells and nuclear power. Small volume transport becomes more and more common, which moves the load from the sea to the air and also improves the accessibility and services of the archipelago. Technological development, such as industrial scale 3D printing and new circular economy solutions improve access to resources, but also increase the transport of waste on the sea. Local traffic and logistics are emphasised.

The increase of small transport causes logistical challenges in the densely populated Gulf of Finland area. Air transport creates new kinds of issues related to safety and control. The development of circular economy reduces vessel transport volumes, but does not replace maritime transport. New boating routes are created in the eastern parts of the Gulf of Finland.

Small volume transport and the development of local production support living in the archipelago and services in the area. The archipelago has lots of opportunities for the testing and development of drone transport and different kinds of automation, which further increases the attraction of the area as a maritime competence centre and improves the opportunities to develop circular economy solutions. In this scenario, also minor maritime industry is dynamic in addition to large shipyards. Maritime industry in the area finds synergies with offshore wind power. Increased recreational boating increases safety risks at sea.

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.

With the increased political tension, the Baltic Sea area more and more becomes a strategic playing field, and the strategic significance of logistics routes is emphasised. Maritime routes are possibly also used as a means of geopolitics and using in the Northern Sea Route becomes more difficult. Certain safe growth corridors are emphasised (such as Turku–Åland–Stockholm), and the ports of the west coast gain strength. Passenger traffic reduces substantially especially in the south. Recreational boating also becomes more difficult due to repeated cable projects especially in the Gulf of Finland and the Archipelago Sea. Prevailing cyber threats and distrust between national operations slow down the development of autonomous maritime transport.

The security environment moves focus to the maritime connections from the ports of Helsinki and Kotka to continental Europe and Sweden. Land and air transport increases at the expense of sea transport. The security environment also impacts the movement of people, decreasing passenger transport by sea significantly, which causes problems to the tourism industry. Few autonomous vessels are seen in the Gulf of Finland. Their test areas and operation are placed in other maritime areas.

The ports on the west coast become stronger due to the security environment and the focus of maritime transport moves partly away from the congested Gulf of Finland. Cooperation with Sweden is increased, which is reflected in increased ship traffic, among other things. The threat of cyber influencing makes maritime transport more difficult and the role of maritime surveillance is emphasised. Transport volumes increase and ports are expanded. Cities of the area develop and the significance of ports in the area is emphasised. The fleet is developed and maintained. The strong maritime logistics competence in the area opens up new opportunities for maritime industry and logistics.

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.