<< Back

Saving the Baltic Sea in 20 years - innovative methods to extract the nutrient surplus from the sea water

Time: 15:00-16:20

Venue: Galleriet

To save the sea we need to reduce the amount of nutrients by extracting them directly from the sea water. Can the eutrophication of the Baltic Sea be tackled by extracting nutrients from the sea water? Can biological methods like mussel or algae farming have an impact? Are technical methods for extracting oxygen-free sediments from the sea floor another solution? What are the benefits and risks?

Eutrophication is one of the biggest threats to the marine ecosystem in the Baltic Sea. The input of nutrients (N, P) increases the primary production and causes severe environmental and social problems around the Baltic Sea Region. That is why the reduction of nutrients in the Baltic Sea is one of the major tasks to save the sea. Considerable efforts have resulted in successful reduction of the nutrient input from land, which needs to be continued. Phosphorus is a major driver for algae blooming and disturbance in the nutrient balance in the Baltic Sea. The increased deposits of organic matter can cause anaerobic conditions and release of phosphorus from the sediments (internal loading).

Even with large investments to further reduce the run off from land there will still be major problems in the sea. Extracting nutrients directly from the water of the Baltic Sea is therefore a necessary complementary activity in order to fulfil the priority ‘Save the Sea’. Mussels or algae farms which extract nutrients from the water offer a promising method which combines environmental services with a bio-production, in line with the concept of bioeconomy. The products can be used as food, animal feed, energy sources, etc. What are the impacts on the nutrient level at a local and a more general level? Is there an economy in this?

Another method is to extract oxygen-free sediments from the sea floor. The phosphorus could then be extracted and recycled and used in agriculture, contributing to a circular economy in practice. What are the benefits and risks?

There are also methods to bind the phosphorus in the bottom sediments. The seminar will present examples of extractive aquaculture as well as sediment extraction from the point of view of aquaculture businesses, researchers, tourism entrepreneurs, politicians, and environmental protection organisations. The outcome will be a better understanding of the many complementary methods to decrease the nutrient load of the Baltic Sea as ways of saving the sea faster.

The seminar specifically addresses the objective Save the Sea in the EUSBSR and the sub-objectives: an achieved good environmental status by 2020, ensuring clean water in the sea and rich and healthy wildlife. It also addresses the aims of the PA Bioeconomy where it is stated in the Action Plan: ‘Aquaculture forms part of the developing blue bioeconomy which strives to find new innovative uses of aquatic resources that adds value to the conventional value chains.’
Sven-Erik Bucht, Minister of Rural Development, Sweden (tbc)
Bengt Simonsson, Teknikmarknad and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
Susan Løvstad Holdt, Assistant Professor, Technical University of Denmark, National Food Institute
Fredrik Gröndahl, Associate Professor, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
Ottilia Thoreson, WWF
Gunno Renman, Professor, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm and member of the Baltic Works Commission
Anna Thore, Kalmarsunds Commission
Ms. Angelė Plančiūnaitė – Deputy Director of Panevėžys Regional Environment Protection Department of the Ministry of Environment of Lithuania
Angela Schultz-Zehden, Managing Director SUBMARINER Network/Sustainable-projects GmbH


Political seminar

Main organiser: 
PAC for Bioeconomy/Fishery and Aquaculture, Swedish Board of Agriculture
Seminar contact person:
Hans-Olof Stålgren

Sub-objective of the EUSBSR:
Save the Sea: Clear water in the sea