There are several different types of protected areas in the Baltic Sea. Some of them are prosoped for international benefit like Baltic Sea Protected Areas (BSPAs) or Important Birds Areas (IBAs) by big international organizations like HELCOM and BirdLife. These territories are important for the whole Baltic Sea. Marine Natura 2000 areas are another examples of efforts to protect marine ecosystems. National authorities designate them.

The national protected areas play an important role in conserving the marine environment. Designated in the most valuable and fragile territories, they ensure the survival of marine nature values. One of the main points in this protection is the net formed from all the marine protected areas.
The net of protected areas is crucially important for highly mobile animal groups such as birds, mammals and fishes, especially for migrants. If only the wintering area will be protected and the breeding places will be left unprotected, the species might still face the extinction hazard. Also, some coastal areas are connected in a specific way.

When the Gulf of Riga gets frozen, the birds, which are wintering there, moves to coast of Lithuania. In such cases it is important to protect both sites in order to ensure the favourable conservation status. This is why an international approach to the protection of marine environment is necessary.
Project's main site - www.balticseaportal.net
International Important Bird Areas
Natura 2000 Areas
International Important Bird Areas
Natura 2000 Areas
Maps by Ruta Tamre (Estonian Environment Information Centre)