When the sea is used in a controlled manner, the benefits are maximised while the disadvantages are minimised

Finnish sea areas are subjected to a wide range of operating pressures, from maritime infrastructure and other construction to various maritime industries, such as fish farming. In particular, the sea is used both intensively and in diverse ways in densely populated coastal areas, as well as near ports. In such areas, these various forms of use are also most likely to conflict.

The different uses of the sea can be reconciled locally through the practice of zoning. Special maritime spatial plans are drawn up for more extensive sea areas. Within such plans, the most suitable areas for the various uses of the sea, including nature conservation, are designated. These plans strive to secure the sustainable growth of the maritime sector while achieving environmental goals.

Coastal problem areas are surveyed and restored

On the coasts, problems are caused in particular by construction. Structures such as causeways, bridges, and breakwaters, as well as dredging activities, change the flow conditions and, among other things, the transport and deposition of sediment material also. This is reflected in both the water quality and marine biotic communities. Such impacts can extend hundreds of metres beyond a structure or a construction site.

Both civil engineering works and dredging are regulated by the Water Act and the Environmental Protection Act. The maritime Programme of Measures seeks to mitigate the damage caused by existing structures. First, those areas on the coast that have been degraded due to construction works are identified, after which their restoration can be planned and started.

Safe shipping reduces the risk of oil spills and chemical damage

With regard to shipping, an important goal is to ensure the safety of shipping traffic. In the Gulf of Finland in particular, shipping continues to increase, which increases the risk of accidents, as well as damage caused by oil and chemical spills. Risk management includes, among other things, a maritime traffic control system, the safeguarding of shipping in winter, as well as sea lane measurements and other marine surveys.

In Finland, preparations are made for possible oil and chemical accidents. Although the level of preparedness for such damage is already quite good, it is still undergoing further development.