Archipelago sea programme for agriculture
The Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) established a list of significant pollution sites around the Baltic Sea, i.e. Hot Spots, in 1992. The only Hot Spot still left in Finland is the non-point source pollution from agriculture in the Archipelago Sea catchment area.
The aim of the Archipelago Sea Programme is to reduce loading caused by agriculture in the Archipelago Sea in such a way that the area can be removed from the list of HELCOM Hot Spots by no later than 2027. The key focus is on phosphorus, a nutrient that is significant in terms of eutrophication.
Of the ten measures included in the Roadmap for Agriculture under the Archipelago Sea Programme, nutrient loading can be the most efficiently reduced by improving the water economy and soil properties of arable lands, increasing the use of soil improvers, promoting the transfers of manure and increasing soil plant cover. The measures can be further reinforced through funding models, including impact investments, sharing of information, and utilisation of marine nutrients and nutrient recycling.
The measures of the current CAP Strategic Plan respond to many of these needs. The placement of buffer zones has been improved. Plant cover in winter, catch crops, good soil management, accurate use of nutrients and promoting recycling are all important water protection measures and a high priority in the CAP Strategic Plan. Advice provided under the Neuvo2030 measure provides more information on the importance of implementing these measures.
The Programme for Nutrient Recycling of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the nutrient cycle grant support actions that promote the recycling of nutrients and, through this, reduce the load on the Archipelago Sea, including the processing of nutrients in biomass, production and development of recycled fertiliser products, logistics for nutrient recycling, and development of high value-added nutrient products. Competence and cooperation related to nutrient recycling, resource efficiency and biogas are also promoted. At the same time, these measures also increase Finland’s energy and nutrient self-sufficiency and respond to topical emergency supply challenges.
In addition, support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to the use and state of the aquatic environment, water management and flood protection and financing for restoration measures related to fisheries and the development of fisheries, logistics and products contribute to the efforts to improve the state of the Archipelago Sea, utilise marine nutrients, and remove the Archipelago Sea region from the list of HELCOM Hot Spots.
Prime Minister Orpo’s Government will continue to implement the Archipelago Sea Programme with a focus on measures that lead to improvements in the nutrient cycle of a significant scale, such as circulation of nutrients of animal origin, improving the retention capacity of soil in relevant sites and removing nutrients from waters. The recycling of nutrients in manure to areas where there is nutrient deficiency is promoted and ways are developed to retain nutrients in arable lands by making use of nature’s own ecosystems, including by taking care of soil structure and improving water management in catchment areas. The utilisation of soil improvers such as gypsum, fibre and structural lime treatments, will be diversified so that farms have different options and can choose solutions that are best suited for them. The reduction of nutrient emissions will be taken into account in primary production and environmental permit procedures in the catchment area of the Archipelago Sea.