The responsible use and management of natural resources ensures the vitality of the Baltic Sea

Both renewable and non-renewable resources are extracted from the sea. The former includes fish and game, while the latter includes seafloor resources, such as marine sands. The use of natural resources must be sustainable for the sea to remain vibrant and also bring prosperity to future generations.

Fish stocks are managed by regulating catch levels and fishing practices

The most important commercial fish species in Finnish sea areas are herring and sprat. Although their stocks are strong, those of other fish, such as pikeperch in the Archipelago Sea, are in a weak state. Moreover, sea trout have been assessed as critically endangered.

The catches of herring, sprat, and salmon are regulated as part of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy. It sets a maximum allowable catch for each fish stock. Coastal fish stocks are instead regulated nationally by setting minimum catch sizes for fish or regulating catches and fishing gear.

The action plan of Finland’s Marine Strategy emphasises the management of coastal fish stocks. Better information on the current state of fish stocks is needed as a basis for such management. A particular focus of attention is the rare sea grayling, i.e. Thymallus thymallus, whose natural reproduction is weak.

A national plan is being drawn up for the use of seabed resources

The extraction of marine sand and other seabed aggregates changes the surface contours of the seabed and can cause coastal erosion and harm fisheries. The extent and duration of the effects vary depending on the extraction method and the characteristics of the area. Other dredging and sediment deposition activities also cause similar harmful effects.

Dredging alters the seafloor.

The use of seabed resources is already regulated by several regulations, including the Land Use and Building Act. The Marine Strategy’s Programme of Measures seeks to develop legislation and planning and research in this sector to support the sustainable use of sediment deposits.

In addition, a plan is being drafted for marine sand and aggregate extraction, which covers all of the coastal areas of Finland. Such a plan is required by the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) and aims to manage the damages caused by seafloor extraction operations. The BSAP aims to mitigate the harmful effects of dredging, in particular, by developing information systems for dredging monitoring and control.