The Archipelago Sea and the Southern Bothnian Sea

Planning solutions

Introduction

The Archipelago Sea and the Southern Bothnian Sea planning area has a long tradition of coastal settlement and seafaring, which is seen in the daily lives and the livelihoods of its inhabitants. However, pressure on the use of the marine area has also increased in the Archipelago Sea and Southern Bothnian Sea. The maritime spatial plan highlights both the area’s current use and opportunities for the future and it also shows the natural and cultural assets underlying the area’s development.

Aspects emphasised in this area are the metal and maritime industries, offshore wind power and large ports, as well as fishing and aquaculture. There is also a great deal of tourism potential. Maritime industry and other livelihoods in this planning area strongly depend on seafaring and port operations. The ports of Southwest Finland and Satakunta play an important role in international logistics and Finland’s merchant shipping. The unique nature of the archipelago in the planning area, the landscape areas and thriving cultural heritage are important engines for tourism and recreation. The national parks in the Bothnian Sea and the Archipelago Sea encourage the development of tourism in the planning area.

The marine environment and nature

The maritime spatial plan indicates areas of significant underwater natural values, which are also potential areas for ecosystem services production. When developing the use of the areas, it is important to consider the preservation of the characteristics of underwater habitats. The plan marking does not consider administrative border or conservation areas, and the indicated areas are not proposals for conservation areas.

The areas shown on the map are identified in the national inventory (Finnish ecologically significant marine underwater areas, EMMA, link) as being important areas in terms of underwater ecology. There are a total of 16 areas with underwater natural values in the Archipelago Sea and the Southern Bothnian Sea planning area. These areas include, e.g. significant fish spawning areas, a wide range of different marine biotopes, geologically varied areas and diverse macroalgae communities. The boundaries of the areas are mainly based on the data gathered in the Finnish Inventory Programme for the Underwater Marine Environment (VELMU) on aquatic plants and other biomes, Baltic Sea coastal habitats and spawning areas for fish.

Areas defined as EMMA areas are those for which sufficient mapping data is available. Significant natural values are also located outside these areas. As the amount of data increases in the future, more significant areas will be able to be identified. It is important to survey and pay attention to underwater natural values other than those the areas identified in the plan.

The maritime spatial plan does not indicate existing areas in the Natura 2000 network, national parks or other conservation areas whose protection and implementation is guided by other legislation but they have been taken into account in the planning process. There are two marine national parks in this planning area, an extensive network of conservation areas and many internationally, nationally and regionally significant areas for birds. Natural values have been actively taken into account in reaching the solutions in the maritime spatial plan.

Maritime spatial planning identifies significant ecological connections, such as rivers which are important for migratory fish. It is important to pay attention to the preservation and improvement of the ecological connections when developing various human operations. The drainage basin in this planning area is extensive and characterised by numerous rivers and their valleys and estuaries. The drainage basin is of major importance for the area’s seas through the interaction between land and water. The rivers Eteläjoki–Noormarkunjoki and Kiskonjoki are defined as priority sites for the area in Finland’s National Fish Passage Strategy.

Areas of significant underwater natural values in the Archipelago Sea and the southern part of the Sea of Bothnia.

Energy

The “Energy production” marking in the maritime spatial plan indicates potential areas for offshore wind power which promote the concentrated siting of offshore wind power construction and its harmonisation with good environmental status, landscape values and other uses of marine areas. Other forms of energy production can be included in the maritime spatial plan during the next planning rounds, if necessary.

In the first planning round, it was identified that the Gulf of Bothnia in particular has good prerequisites for large-scale offshore wind power construction. The energy production areas identified in the planning area are located in the Bothnian Sea near Merikarvia, Pori and Rauma and also in the economic zone. The existing wind power production area off Pori has been extended towards the open sea. According to a general analysis, there are also areas with offshore wind power potential in the southern parts of the Archipelago Sea, in the northern Baltic Sea. The construction of offshore wind power in the southern parts of the Archipelago Sea would need to be harmonised with the demands of national defence operations. The total area of the areas shown on the map is approximately 1,200 km2.

In identifying potential areas, an analysis produced by the Finnish Environmental Institute (SYKE) to support the planning of the siting of wind power potential which takes extensively into account natural values, wind power cost factors and factors linked to livelihoods and recreational value has been used. In indicating potential areas in maritime spatial planning, attention has been paid, among other things, to conservation areas and natural values, landscape values, the depth of the sea bed and national defence operations. Natura 2000 areas and shipping areas have been exclusion criteria in the planning process. The analysis of potential areas for offshore wind power has been general in nature, and, for example, types of soil on the sea bed have not been taken into account and will be examined in more detail in conjunction with any potential projects.

Concentrating wind power production in the open sea in clear entities sufficiently far from the shore and the archipelago promotes harmonisation of wind power and other uses of the marine area and the management of environmental impacts. Most other operations in the planning area and valuable areas in terms of the natural marine environment are sited in coastal waters, the archipelago and other shallow marine areas. The areas with potential for offshore wind power are mainly located in the open sea, at least 10 km from the shore and at a depth of 10–50 metres.

In offshore wind power development, it is important to pay attention to marine livelihoods, landscape values, nature and cultural values, recreational use, seafaring and defence. Furthermore, the connection needs of energy transmission in marine areas as well as the connection to the main electricity transmission grid must be considered.

Other plan markings related to energy are power transmission connections, a gas pipeline and a nuclear power plant. Two important international infrastructure connections run through the Archipelago Sea and Southern Bothnian Sea planning area. The maritime spatial plan shows DC connections to Sweden: Fenno-Skan 1 (400 MW) from Rauma to Dannebo and Fenno-Skan 2 (800 MW) from Pyhäranta to Finnböle. The Nord Stream underwater gas pipeline runs from Russia through the Gulf of Finland via the northern Baltic Sea to Germany. The plan in the form of the map does not show the electricity connections for the offshore wind power areas. The importance of planning electricity transmission links is highlighted in the planning principles for energy production areas and the different marine area zones.

The Olkiluoto nuclear power plant area in Eurajoki with the spent nuclear fuel repositories and their associated safety zone is shown as a special area. The nuclear power station’s operations are connected to the sea due to its cooling system. The nuclear power station will use sea water as a coolant, which means heat will be emitted into the marine area. The nuclear power plant will have an additional impact on uses to which the surrounding marine area can be put, which is why the restricted area surrounding it is shown on the maritime spatial plan

Maritime logistics

Maritime spatial planning identifies the internationally significant ports in the TEN-T Core Network and Comprehensive Network, as well as other regionally important ports. Seafaring areas, further connections on the mainland, smooth transport flow and safety are central to the conditions determining the functioning and development of ports. The port markings also cover other operations which depend on port areas such as industry and logistics centres. Ports are central hubs for the transport of people and goods and a large amount of port-related industry is sited in port areas. Ports play a major role in Finland’s economy and security of supply.

The maritime spatial plan for the Archipelago Sea and Southern Bothnian Sea shows as internationally significant ports two of the ports in the TEN‑T core network, Turku and Naantali, plus two ports in the TEN‑T Comprehensive Network, Pori and Rauma. The ports of Eurajoki, Uusikaupunki and Pargas are also designated with the “Other port” marking. There are also important fishing ports in Reposaari in Pori and in Uusikaupunki.

Off Eurajoki, the Jaakonmeri Test Area, reserved for testing autonomous maritime traffic, vessels and technologies, is designated as a “Special area”. Access to the area may be restricted on specific terms, affecting its use for other purposes.

The seafaring areas indicated in the maritime spatial plan are mainly Class 1 merchant shipping fairways and other busy marine areas. The seafaring areas have been identified based on the areas used by maritime transport, locations of existing fairways and the needs to indicate new fairways with a general “Seafaring areas” marking. It is important to pay attention to the future needs of seafaring and maritime logistics as well as the prerequisites for safe seafaring when developing the seafaring areas.

The maritime spatial plan identifies economically and functionally significant existing and potential functional connections which support the livelihoods and other wellbeing in the areas. Functional connections may refer to tourism and recreation as well as infrastructure connection needs. The coordination needs of different sectors must be considered when developing the connections. Connections must be developed in a diversified manner.

A need for one new maritime link, known as the Örö fairway, has been identified in the planning area. In the plan this is marked as a “Functional connection”. The Turku–Stockholm connection, which is part of the Scandinavian–Mediterranean TEN-T core corridor, is shown as an “International functional connection”.

In maritime spatial planning, in order to foster the good status of the marine environment, the future needs for dredging of ports and Class 1 merchant shipping fairway areas have been surveyed and most suitable banking sites for dredging masses identified in terms of protecting the marine environment and cost effectiveness (link).

The Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) is a Europe-wide transport network comprising a core network to be built by 2030 and a comprehensive network to be completed by 2050. The aim is to create a safe and sustainable EU transport system which facilitates the smooth movement of people and goods.

Fishing and aquaculture

Regarding professional fishing, the maritime spatial plan shows important areas for coastal net fishing and open sea trawling. Net fishing areas illustrated with a fishing marking are based on the Natural Resources Institute Finland’s net fishing data which covers class 1 net fishing areas. Open sea trawling data is based on data maintained by the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) on the movements of fishing vessels. Monitoring and location identification obligations and electronic reporting apply to vessels of over 12 metres, such that there is no comprehensive data covering smaller fishing vessels. Fishing areas have been generalised to suit the maritime spatial planning scale. It should be borne in mind that the location of catch sites and the times when they are used vary with fish movements and other conditions.  The areas designated are extensive and describe the intensity of fishing in the Southern Bothnian Sea. The size of the fishing areas and the size of the catch are also significant on the scale of the entire Baltic Sea.

Other important areas for professional fishing such as fyke net sites or the network of fishing harbours are not shown on the map due to the maritime spatial planning scale, but they have been taken into account in the planning process. Trawling areas and a fyke net fishing area are shown on the Satakunta coast, based on information gathered from fishermen in the Pan Baltic Scope project in 2019.

The fishing industry depends on the aquatic environment and good status fish stocks. The spawning areas of many fish species are located near the shore or in the archipelago. The most important fish spawning areas are shown in the maritime spatial plan with the marking “Significant underwater natural values”.

Two-thirds of the fish farmed in the Mainland Finland area is produced at sea. The majority of this, approximately 40%, is produced in the Archipelago Sea. The average size of food fish farms is small and the companies’ production is split into many small units sheltered in the archipelago. National work to steer the siting of aquaculture has sought to locate suitable fish farming sites in terms of environmental protection, aquaculture methods and other uses of the water.

The aquaculture marking in the maritime spatial plan indicates areas with potential for further rearing of fish. The FINFARMGIS modelling produced by the Natural Resources Institute Finland and existing and planned fish farming infrastructure were used to identify potential aquaculture areas. In identifying fish farming areas, use was made of the FINFARMGIS method, produced by the Natural Resources Institute Finland’s Aquaculture Innovation Programme and based on an ecosystem approach. The aim of FINFARMGIS analysis is to evaluate the appropriateness of the areas for the purpose of fish farming applying environmental, social and economic criteria. Spatial data is used to create a synthesis map, through multi-criteria decision analysis and cost surface analysis, which describes in a modelling-based classification the best areas for large-scale fish farms in Finland’s marine areas.

Maritime spatial planning has sought to identify potential future aquaculture areas on the basis of modelling and other marine area information. Areas have been identified in the outer archipelago of the Archipelago Sea and in the outermost coastal waters of the Southern Bothnian Sea. Six areas with potential are shown in the Southern Bothnian Sea and eleven areas with potential for further rearing of fish in the Archipelago Sea.

In maritime spatial planning, when planning potential aquaculture areas the current ecological status of the waters and the restrictions this places have been identified. The marking is based on the opportunities that new technologies have to offer and on sustainable solutions to meet environmental and production objectives in the future

Tourism and recreation

The entities for tourism and recreational use in the maritime spatial plan combine both tourism and its development and independent recreation such as outdoor exercise, nature study, recreational fishing and hunting. When developing tourism and recreation operations, it is important to promote the prerequisites for and accessibility of maritime tourism as well as the formation of functional entities and to consider the sustainability of the operations and managing pressure on the environment.

The maritime spatial plan shows the entities that are the greatest engines in terms of developing the sector. Tourism and recreational use has many confluences with other cultural heritage values. For example, recreational fishing and hunting opportunities as recreational use support a vibrant and thriving archipelago culture. Besides the national parks in the Bothnian Sea and Archipelago Sea, significant sites in the areas include the Rauma archipelago, the old fortress island of Kuuskajaskari, Kylmäpihjala lighthouse, Laitakari and the lighthouse island of Säppi in Luvia, Yyteri and Reposaari in Pori, Ourat in Merikarvia and the Merikarvianjoki recreational fishing area, Isokari lighthouse, the circular route of the Archipelago Trail, Jurmo, the fortress island of Örö, Bengtskär lighthouse, Rosala Viking Centre and Utö.

The “Tourism and recreational connection” marking in maritime spatial planning shows boating based on the small craft track. Leisure boating in the Bothnian Sea is mainly directed close to the coast. The most important marinas for developing regional tourism are Krookka in Merikarvia, Reposaari in Pori, Laitakari in Luvia in Eurajoki and Poroholma in Rauma. The Archipelago Sea in its entirety is a notable tourism and recreational area, both at the national and international level.

The table below describes tourism and recreation development zones presented in the maritime spatial plan in the Archipelago Sea and the southern part of the Sea of Bothnia

AreaDescription
Merikarvianjoki river and Oura archipelagoThe Merikarvianjoki river is a major destination for recreational fishing, with a diverse tourism and accommodation offering along the river. The Krookka guest marina and Oura archipelago offer a maritime atmosphere, and the old pilot station in the archipelago has been converted for tourism use.
Pori – a delta and dunes The Yyteri beach and dunes are a national landscape attraction, and the Kokemäenjoki river delta is the largest in the Nordic countries. The coast of Pori has a diverse range of birdlife and a comprehensive network of birdwatching towers, providing excellent opportunities for birdwatching.
Eurajoki – from Laitakari to the Luvia archipelagoThe Laitakari guest marine is the gateway to the Bothnian Sea National Park. The island of Nirvo has a visitor’s marina. The Säpi lighthouse island has a diverse range of birdlife and Finland’s second-oldest bird observatory.
The old town of Rauma and the archipelago hiking trailsThe old town of Rauma is a World Heritage Site, as well as a lively town centre with shops. Rauma offers a diverse range of maritime tourist services, providing everyone with access to the archipelago and the Bothnian Sea National Park, even without a boat.
Kihti-StröömiThe Ströömi shipping lane. The archipelago settlement of the Western Åboland region (Västra and Östra Saverkeit, Björkö, Mossala, Åvensor, Keistiö, Kolko, Jumo, Åselholm), the church environment of Houtskär, the Iniö parish village, the church environment of Kustavi, the village and pilot station of Lypyrti, the Katanpää fortress.
AiristoThe Airisto seascape. The Lapila manor house, Seili leper hospital, Ruissalo villa area, the harbour, shipyard and industrial area at the mouth of the Aurajoki river.
Eastern Archipelago SeaThe historical industrial area of Taalintehdas, Örö fortress, Hiittinen parish village, village settlements in the outer archipelago on Kemiönsaari island (Rosala and Böle, Högsåra, Holma), Dragsfjärd church and surrounding areas.

Cultural heritage

Maritime spatial planning identifies cultural heritage clusters that include, for example, nationally valuable landscape areas, nationally significant built cultural environments (RKY), underwater cultural landscapes, coastal fishing tradition areas and entities related to seafaring, traditional biotopes and villa culture.

The maritime spatial plan indicates eight entities of cultural heritage value, representing different types of cultural heritage features characteristic of the Archipelago Sea and the southern part of the Sea of Bothnia. These areas are described in a table. Cultural heritage values in this planning area act as drivers for developing tourism.

The large archipelago entity in the Archipelago Sea, which combines local archipelago culture, year-round residence and holiday homes, maritime sectors and archipelago nature and cultural heritage, is shown with an “Archipelago” marking in the maritime spatial plan. Wide areas in the municipalities of Pargas, Kimitoön, Turku, Naantali, Taivassalo, Kustavi and Uusikaupunki are within the boundary of this core archipelago area. The entity also includes the Archipelago Sea Biosphere Reserve.  The vital archipelago culture, diverse business life and year-round accessibility of the areas should be considered when developing the areas. It is important to develop the infrastructure in the areas to support their vitality and characteristics.

 

The table below describes areas of cultural significance presented in the maritime spatial plan in the Archipelago Sea and the southern part of the Sea of Bothnia

AreaDescription
The old villages of MerikarviaAlong the Ostrobothnian coastal road, a mediaeval thoroughfare that follows the coastline of Merikarvia, there are several old villages with peasant houses, as well as small farms and fishing harbours built to serve the fishing business.
The maritime landscapes of PoriThe coastal landscapes of Pori combine the sea, cultural heritage and natural values: The parish villages of Ahlainen and Reposaari, industrial and villa environments, seafaring history, and the national landscape attraction of Yyteri beach with its extensive coastal meadows.
The Luvia archipelago and the old bay (in Eurajoki)The villages that have sprung up around the old bay in Eurajoki and the fishing facilities in the fragmented archipelago tell the story of coastal livelihoods and settlements. The Säpi lighthouse and staff buildings were constructed in the 1870s
The Rauma region: world heritage, lighthouses and fortressesThe environs of Rauma offer a diverse maritime cultural heritage, ranging from modest archipelago farms in the golden age of sailing to the old town of Rauma in its present-day form and defence equipment from the Middle Ages to World War I.
Kihti-StröömiThe Ströömi shipping lane. The archipelago settlement of the Western Åboland region (Västra and Östra Saverkeit, Björkö, Mossala, Åvensor, Keistiö, Kolko, Jumo, Åselholm), the church environment of Houtskär, the Iniö parish village, the church environment of Kustavi, the village and pilot station of Lypyrti, the Katanpää fortress.
AiristoThe Airisto seascape. The Lapila manor house, Seili leper hospital, Ruissalo villa area, the harbour, shipyard and industrial area at the mouth of the Aurajoki river.
Eastern Archipelago SeaThe historical industrial area of Taalintehdas, Örö fortress, Hiittinen parish village, village settlements in the outer archipelago on Kemiönsaari island (Rosala and Böle, Högsåra, Holma), Dragsfjärd church and surrounding areas.
The south-western Archipelago SeaArchipelago Sea landscapes. Village settlements in the Western Åboland region (Jurmo, Björkö, Aspö, Nötö, Sandholm, Lökholm, Borstö, Berghamn, Österskär), the Utö fortress, lighthouse and pilot settlements.

Maritime industry

In maritime spatial planning, maritime industry is identified as a central part of entities comprising maritime livelihoods, maritime clusters. Maritime industry operations are often centralised in the vicinity of large ports. In both regions covered by the planning area, maritime industry is identified as a significant sector, also in terms of regional development. To support this view, the map shows a total of three maritime industry concentrations: Pori, Rauma and Turku/Naantali.

Functional logistics connections on land and at sea are important in terms of the competitiveness of maritime industry. When developing ports, it is important to prepare for increasing maritime logistics and the realisation of a variety of projects sited at

Minerals

In this planning round, no mineral potential is indicated in the maritime spatial plan. The underlying data for identifying potential areas is not yet sufficient and the small size of mining sites poses challenges when indicating potential in the maritime spatial plan. In vision work, the mining industry is identified as a sector of the future, and it has also been examined in the report on the current state of the Blue Economy (link). Seabed sand resources, such as sand and gravel formations, are typically the same areas that have very high natural values.

Blue biotechnology

In this planning round, no blue biotechnology potential is indicated in the maritime spatial plan given the lack of more detailed research and reports. In vision work, blue biotechnology is identified as an important sector of the future, and it has also been examined in the report on the current state of the Blue Economy (link). Indirectly, the sector is included in the aim of good status of the marine environment because a sea whose status is good is capable of also producing high quality raw materials for biotechnology needs

National defence

Safeguarding the operations of Finland’s defence forces has been taken into account in the maritime spatial planning process.  In the maritime spatial plan, defence force areas are shown in the background material.

In maritime spatial planning, attention has been paid to restricted marine areas in line with the Territorial Surveillance Act and to firing and military training areas. The restricted areas in the Archipelago Sea and Southern Bothnian Sea planning area are Kimitoön, Örö, Utö, Gyltö, Houtskär and Pansio, all in the Archipelago Sea.

Of the uses of marine areas set to grow in the future, offshore wind power construction will require harmonisation with the needs of national defence. This was taken into account in the first planning round where the emphasis on the potential of offshore wind power was placed in the Gulf of Bothnia.