FINMARINET - Inventory and planning for the Finnish marine NATURA 2000 network

FINMARINET final conference was held on the 10th April, 2013 at the House of Science and Letters in Helsinki. 

The conference programme and presentations:

The following presentations are available in Finnish:

Mitä saatiin aikaan, menetelmien ja tulosten esittely:

Tarkentunut käsitys elinympäristöjen ja eliölajien esiintymisestä

New information on the underwater world of the Baltic Sea

FINMARINET has provided new information on species and their constituent communities in the Finnish sea areas. The project has collected data on animal and plant species from more than 22 000 sampling points from six study areas. In addition, the geological data acquired has involved scanning nearly 800 km2 of the seabed. The project has increased our understanding of biodiversity and focused on the location and extent of important habitats such as reefs and sand banks. In particular, we now know much more about habitat types and species from the offshore areas. This information is provided to the authorities to assess the adequacy of networks of protected areas and to guide possible further actions.

Red algae and moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) in the Finnish coastal waters.  Photo by Metsähallitus.

More resources for the inventory work during 2009-2012

The Finnish Inventory Program for the Underwater Marine Environment (VELMU) has collected data on the diversity of underwater marine biotopes and species since 2004. FINMARINET was implemented under the VELMU umbrella from 2009 to June 2013.

FINMARINET was a joint venture by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Services, Geological Survey of Finland, Åbo Akademi and Turku University. The total budget was 3.4 million Euro, of which the European Union LIFE+ programme contributes 50 %.

Mapping the habitats

A habitat is the area where an organism lives and breeds. Baltic Sea marine habitats are characterised by a number of abiotic variables that include light, temperature, water salinity, nutrient content, depth, exposure, bottom topography and substrate. The number of species in the Baltic Sea, particularly along the Finnish coast, is relatively low due to the young age of the Baltic Sea and due to the low water salinity. The human impact on Baltic Sea underwater habitats is significant. The marine environments are affected especially by agriculture, forestry and industrial activity.

The FINMARINET project mapped the occurrence and distribution of key species and important habitats within the project target areas. Habitats that are important for biodiversity include cold water reefs, sandbanks, coastal lagoons, large shallow inlets and bays, submarine structures made by leaking gases, esker islands as well as islands and islets in outer archipelago.

Within the project, underwater mapping was conducted in seven marine NATURA 2000 sites and in the adjacent exclusive economic zone (EEZ) waters. Bottom topography, substrate and biota were surveyed. Information on the variation of important biotic and abiotic factors in these areas was produced. Survey results were used in underwater habitat modelling.

More information

Project manager Dr. Pasi Laihonen, the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), tel: +358 295 251343, e-mail:


Published 2013-09-17 at 10:39, updated 2016-04-22 at 15:50