Marine Environment Data Management Related to the Human Activity in the South-Eastern Baltic Sea (The Lithuanian Sector)

Marine Environment Data Management Related to the Human Activity in the South-Eastern Baltic Sea (The Lithuanian Sector)

Algimantas Grigelis (Institute of Geology and Geography, Lithuania), Nerijus Blažauskas (Klaipėda University, Lithuania), Leonora Živilė Gelumbauskaitė (Institute of Geology and Geography, Lithuania), Saulius Gulbinskas (Klaipėda University, Lithuania), Sergej Suzdalev (Klaipėda University, Lithuania) and Christian Ferrarin (Institute of Marine Sciences-National Research Council (ISMAR-CNR), Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0700-0.ch012


The chapter provides an overview of the activities fostering the blue growth and measures supporting the sustainable development and maintaining the good status of the marine environment in Lithuania. The recent findings and developed practical management tools facilitating the effective management of the marine resources support the implementation of EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. Preparation of the first Lithuanian integrated maritime spatial plan, development of innovative solutions for handling dredged soil in ports, the new approach for selection of new dumping sites and prediction of possible adverse effects are among the activities that provided the most valuable results for the further development of marine activities also in the wider region.
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Growing maritime related business – the “blue” economy has fostered the demand for maritime research and data. Along with growing economy, we recognize the need of a proper management of the marine space and resources. The concept of the integrated maritime spatial planning and recently (July 2014) adopted EU Directive (2014/89/EU) encourages the Member States to implement the planning of the Seas. A number of international cooperation projects has been initiated in order to develop, adopt and implement the principles of maritime spatial planning. The main principles of the planning of maritime activities are embedded in the international strategic documents. Among those are EU Integrated Maritime Policy; HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan (Recommendation 28E/9 on the “Development of Broad-scale Maritime Spatial Planning Principles in the Baltic Sea Area”); VASAB Long Term Perspective for the Territorial Development of the Baltic Sea Region and recently endorsed by European Parliament the new Framework Directive for Maritime Spatial Planning (Directive 2014/89/EU, adopted in July, 2014). The Directive sets the deadline for the Member States to establish the Maritime Spatial Plans (MSP) by 31st of March 2021. This should foster implementation of the principles of sustainable development and sustainable utilisation of the maritime space and resources. Furthermore – ensure the proper management of the economic developments and potential as well as existing conflicts between the different sea users in the marine areas. To achieve this a fundamental knowledge, and new, applicable for the planning, data sets and innovative solutions for management of the marine resources are required.

The south-eastern sub-region of the Baltic Sea stretches from Poland–Russia border in the south to Latvia–Estonia border at the Irben Straight, in the north. The Lithuanian sea sector occupies a mid part of the sub-region and borders with waters of Russia, Sweden and Latvia. EEZ area of the Lithuanian sector is just about 4560 km2, the territorial waters – about 1810 km2, and the length of the open sea coastline is about 91 km.

The demand for maritime space in Lithuania increased dramatically during the past several years. Emerging new maritime uses such as an offshore wind energy or/and marine aquaculture along with development of a new port facilities; a concepts of the underwater electricity and underwater oil pipelines; development of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) market requires comprehensive maritime space planning (MSP) and proper management of the marine uses. The main nature and civil objects on the seacoast are the Curonian Spit [UNESCO Heritage list], Klaipėda city, Palanga and Šventoji resorts. The main marine industry is related to the Klaipėda State Seaport, the Marine Cargo handling companies, the Western Shipyard, the Klaipėda LNG terminal, the Klaipėda and the Būtingė oil import-export terminals. The Lithuanian marine transport is growing, the new sea uses (such us an offshore energy) are emerging and requiring not only the proper regulation, space and natural resources, but also having strong pressure on the sea floor.

Following the mentioned above, the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences has identified several marine environment data management tasks that are relevant for the south-eastern Baltic Sea (the Lithuanian sector) (Grigelis, 2012):

  • Eutrophication: the marine pollution by the nitrogen and phosphorus rich compounds transported from the mainland area and resulting in the sea blooming caused by the blue algae.

  • Negative impact on marine fauna and flora caused by the marine transport, economic activities in the harbours and port terminals, sea pollution by the oil products, chemical and synthetic materials.

  • Risks to the fish gene pool related to the submerged chemical weapons, toxic (yperite, arsenic) substances including radionuclides.

  • Insufficient sea water exchange with the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Impacts related to the invasive species.

  • Increasing frequency of the storms, hurricanes, excess rainfalls, deluges, acceleration of the sea level rise, coastal erosion, and degradation of the natural sandy beaches.

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