Fishing and shipping have been traditional activities of the people living around the Baltic Sea for a very long time. The Baltic Sea fishery history dates back to the Stone Age. It developed from small-scale coastal fishery to the commercial fishery with more effective gear and big trawling vessels. The small Baltic fisheries communities and fishing cultures have been gradually vanishing in the name of a more effective society.
The impact of fishing mainly concerns the commercially important fish stocks, but also the benthic invertebrate and fish communities, marine mammals, seabirds and the abiotic environment. One of the main negative environmental effects of fishing is unwanted bycatch of fish, birds and marine mammals. Bottom trawls can damage the seabed and organisms living there.
During the last decade shipping has steadily increased around the Baltic Sea. Around 2,000 sizeable ships are normally at sea at any time in the Baltic, including large oil tankers, ships carrying dangerous and potentially polluting cargoes, and many large passenger ferries. The Baltic Sea has some of the busiest shipping routes in the world. Maritime transportation is generally one of the most environmentally friendly ways of transporting goods, but there are also potential negative impacts, like ship-generated waste, oil pollution and air pollution, release of alien species in ballast water.
Fishing and shipping
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Fishing boats near the Curonian Spit (Photo: Giedrius Mačernis)
Shipping (Photo: Giedrius Mačernis)