New foundation wants to help improve the health of the Baltic Sea

10 September 2020

Map of Baltic Sea

New foundation wants to help improve the health of the Baltic Sea by supporting research at Ar Research Station at Campus Gotland.

The BalticWaters2030 Foundation was established on 9 September with the aim of contributing to a healthier Baltic Sea. The foundation will conduct large-scale, action-based environmental projects based on applied research. Uppsala University is hosting one of the foundation’s three new projects starting this autumn. The project looks at saving the cod population of the Baltic Sea.

The BalticWaters2030 Foundation will develop and conduct new environmental projects but also build on the work of the BalticSea2020 Foundation.

This autumn, Baltic Waters2030 will begin three large-scale demonstration projects in collaboration with Uppsala University, Stockholm University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and RISE.

The three projects are:

  • ReCod - release of small cod into the Baltic Sea
  • Better nutrient cycling for animal fertilisers
  • Living bays 

The initial project and day-to-day operations are being funded by Ann-Sofie Mattson, founder of BalticWaters2030, with co-financing from participating universities. They are investing close to SEK 150 million in the three projects and the foundation’s operations.

“I have lived along the Baltic Sea my entire life. I want to help now that I have the means and interest,” says Ann-Sofie Mattson. “I see an advantage with an independent foundation with low administrative costs that can concentrate on projects that make a real difference.”

New knowledge to save the Baltic Sea cod

Uppsala University will host the project on cod in the Baltic Sea. Cod is one of the most important and essential fish species in the Baltic Sea, both economically and ecologically. But the situation of the population is bleak. Decades of overfishing and failed management combined with environmental problems in the Baltic Sea, particularly overfertilisation, have led to the current situation.

The project will contribute to increasing the cod population in the Baltic Sea.

The main question of the project is whether it is possible to raise and release cod larvae that survive to adulthood and thereby contribute to increasing the cod population in the Baltic Sea. Within the project, cod larvae that are a few days old will be released along the coast where there is a good chance they can be recaptured. Extensive test fishing and sampling will be conducted at the release sites during the project. The hope is that the project will provide new understanding and new tools for working to save the Baltic Sea cod.

Resource for sustainable development

Most of the Uppsala research will take place at Ar Research Station on Gotland.

“The new funding gives us a wonderful opportunity to develop the research at Ar Research Station and on Gotland,” says Gunilla Rosenqvist, project manager for Blått Centrum Gotland, professor of behavioural ecology, and director of Ar Research Station.

“We will bring in multiple postdocs and doctoral students to the project and hire technicians. This also offers an opportunity to adapt and expand the research station to provide optimal support for this and other projects. It will be a real lift for the research station but will also offer opportunities for developing our Baltic Sea environmental work at Uppsala University. And we hope to be able to start more projects and become an interdisciplinary resource for research within sustainable development in a wider perspective both nationally and internationally.”

Last modified: 2021-02-14