A large pine oil slick threatening the Finnish Bothnian Sea coast

26/12/2011 at 21:53 | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A piece of Plan Bothnia planning area-relevant news:

A two km long and 600 m wide slick consisting of raw pine oil has been moving east from Söderhamn in Swedish coast of the Bothnian Sea since 20 December. The slick will likely hit the Pori coast during the coming night.

Approximately a quarter of the estimated 0.8 Million liter leak has been recovered by the Swedish authorities. It seems Finnish assistance offshore has been made difficult by the storm Dagmar, blowing with full force over the area last night.

Pine oil in the Bothnian Sea archipelago (Photo: Swedish Coast Guard)

The slick originates from a container on land within the worlds largest pine oil refinery in Sandarne, close to Söderhamn on  the Swedish coast. The facility is owned by the U.S. based Arizona Chemicals Ltd.

Pine oil is a thick destillate from pine debris like needles, twigs and cones with various industrial and household uses (e.g. pine soap). It smears e.g. birds like mineral oil and is toxic at least to smaller forms of life.

Link to information by the Söderhamn county (in Swedish)

Link to news in english (Monday 26. Dec)

Plan Bothnia wishes you a very relaxing Christmas and New Year!

22/12/2011 at 13:48 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

After a year full of MSP, meetings and reporting it sure is good to focus on some other things for a while…

Hope we will get scenery like this soon again. (Photo: HELCOM)

We will be back for more MSP in 2012!

Hermanni Backer (Project Manager)

Partners preparing for the next meeting

16/12/2011 at 16:33 | Posted in meeting | Leave a comment
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Yesterday and today (15.-16.12) we have worked in a small but productive group in Helsinki to prepare for our next planning meeting (MSP4, 25.&26.1.2012). The participants included Pål Karlsson from Boverket, Annukka Pekkarinen, Mirja Rasi and Sari Repka from the Centre for Maritime Studies, Tiina Tihlman from the MoE Finland,  Sirkka Lehto and Anne Savola from the Satakunta Regional Council as well as Hermanni Backer and Manuel Frias from HELCOM.


Refreshments for hard working planners!


Before and during the meeting our rich background material has been reshaped to what starts to resemble a final assessment document draft. A final draft will be submitted to the MSP4 meeting in Stockholm and the finished product later to the EU commission (February 2012). As Edward Tufte would put it: we are working to increase our data-ink ratio.

Besides the background document we have also taken a look and discussed an initial sketch for a regional MSP plan recently drafted by Sirkka and Anne- a fantastic initiative in itself! More such drafting will take place during the next MSP 4 meeting 25 & 26 january 2012.

Enjoy your weekend wherever you are!

2nd commenting round for consultant study on “minimum requirements for MSP”

30/11/2011 at 14:26 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Plan Bothnia project includes as a deliverable (Deliverable 5.2.4) a study on “Region-wide recommendations on minimum requirements for MSP systems” coordinated by Plan Bothnia project partner VASAB secretariat. This will be carried out in two parts -Part I: Minimum requirements for MSP in the Baltic Sea and Part II: Methodology for identifying best MSP practices. The final result will be published as a part of the Plan Bothnia final report.

The selected experts,  Dr. Bernhard Heinrichs (Part I) and Dr. Jacek Zaucha (Part II)  submitted first concept drafts according to the contract by the end of July 2011. These documents were posted i.a. on this blog with a request for comments (see our post dated 27 July 2011).

Based on the input received the consultants have now drafted more complete versions which are open for another round of comments. The second draft files received are available from the folder “Consultancy study on Minimum requirements -Best practices” of the Plan Bothnia Document library accessible through the tab “Documents”at the Plan Bothnia website.

Commenting on these drafts is open for all interested parties until 15 January 2012. Comment directly on this blogpost or, preferably, send comments via email as indicated on the front page of the documents (both to consultants and project partners)

The received comments will be used to create the last draft versions by mid-February, to be summarised in the Final Project report.

Plan Bothnia MSP3 (Helsinki) outcome available

29/11/2011 at 19:16 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The final outcome of the Plan Bothnia MSP3 meeting in Helsinki (19.-20. October 2011), as well as presentations, are now available through the MSP3 meeting folder in the project document library. Thank you for all the comments and input received from meeting participants!

The invitation and agenda for the next meeting, scheduled to take place 25 & 26 january 2012 in Sweden (venue tbc), will be sent shortly and posted on the document library.

Plan Bothnia in Szczecin (Poland)

24/11/2011 at 14:03 | Posted in event | Leave a comment
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On Tuesday 22nd project officer Manuel Frias gave a presentation in Szczecin (Poland) where he was invited to participate in a seminar called “Spatial planning in maritime and coastal areas”. The session he attended was about scientific data in maritime areas. After the round of presentation a lively panel discussion with many questions started. Among other topics the discussion was about:

  • Databases: where to find data, problems with non-public data, how to make them more accessible?
  • Metadata: need of a database for metadata?
  • Importance of visualization of data (“the power of maps” as prof. Jacek Zaucha pointed out): it is good to collect data but maybe more important it is to make that data understandable.
  • What is it needed to improve data collection.

Maritime patial Planning seminar in Szczecin

In general some of the ideas repeated more often were the need of cross-border cooperation – there are many MSP projects but the communication between countries is poor or non-existing. Secondly, the need of  an ecosystem approach was mentioned by several presenters. And finally the need of good quality, accessible and reliable data.

We thank the organizers for such a good seminar! And thanks for the nice pictures!

Plan Bothnia in Nordic dialogue on MSP

18/11/2011 at 14:06 | Posted in event | Leave a comment
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Plan Bothnia was also on the agenda during this weeks Nordic expert meeting on MSP (Ráðstevna um havið – 2030),  organised in Torshavn (Faroe Islands) as part of Nordic Council of Ministers cooperation. Ms. Tiina Tihlman (Ministry of the Environment Finland) presented our project to the conference participants and the initiative was also mentioned by Mr. Sten Jerdenius (Ministry of the Environment, Sweden).

Tiina Tihlman presenting Plan Bothnia

Tiina Tihlman (left) presenting Plan Bothnia

The good cooperation in the Baltic Sea was seen as a source of inspiration for the fledgling MSP cooperation in the west Nordic seas, the main topic of the meeting. This area includes marine jurisdictions of Iceland, Norway and Denmark (including Faroe Island and Greenland) and thus comprises a major part of the north-east Atlantic Ocean.

Plan Bothnia work presented to the HELCOM Maritime group

18/11/2011 at 10:39 | Posted in event | Leave a comment
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Wednesday this week the Plan Bothnia project was presented to the tenth annual meeting of the HELCOM MARITIME group at the premises of the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications, Helsinki. Project Staff Ms. Annukka Pekkarinen (Centre for Maritime Studies, Turku University) and Mr. Hermanni Backer (Project Manager) had a presentation on overall progress as well as the maritime traffic chapter, written by Centre for Maritime Studies. The group welcomed the work done without remarks.


Since the early 1980s, HELCOM MARITIME and its precedessors (Maritime Committee, Maritime WG) have been dealing with Maritime activities in the Baltic Sea.

The HELCOM MARITIME group is attended by ministries and agencies responsible for maritime traffic matters in the Baltic Sea countries, and the EU commission (DG MOVE). A number of sub-groups discuss special issues like AIS information, safety of navigation and various IMO submissions.

Planning for biodiversity conference

09/11/2011 at 17:32 | Posted in event | Leave a comment
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This week Monday and Tuesday we (Hermanni Backer and Manuel Frias)  attended a conference titled “Planning for Biodiversity”, organized as a part of the Polish EU presidency. In addition to the initial plenary session, starred by among others,  Francois Wakenhut (DG ENV), Haitze Siemers (DG MARE) as well as Eva Wenigová (DG Regio), the programme included during day 2 a special sesson on MSP chaired by Jacek Zaucha (associate professor at the University of Gdansk).

During the MSP session we presented the status of the Plan Bothnia planning (Hermanni Backer), slightly with a  special biodiversity angle, as well as our internet-based communication and data collection activities (Manuel Frias).


Our badges

The points taken home, from presentations or thought of by ourselves include:

  • The concept of Green Infrastructure, highlighted by DG ENV could be possibly be interesting for Plan Bothnia.
  • The importance of links to activities to land was again highlighted- one reason was that thinking more about the landside helps in defining the issues that can not be affected by MSP at sea.
  • Community-based planning information generation through mobile devices seems like an interesting way to activate people in data generation.
  • Many large European MSP projects close during the period 2012-2013, this will generate a large amount of information and literature on MSP.
  • Link between the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) process and MSP.

Plan Bothnia in Lisbon – planning on the Sea of Colors

07/11/2011 at 18:51 | Posted in event | Leave a comment
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Last week we attended a workshop on Maritime Spatial Planning organized jointly between HELCOM/VASAB, ICES and OSPAR in Lisbon, Portugal

The first day 17 meeting participants contributed to the Plan Bothnia project by doing a hands-on planning exercise. We also got input through general  comments to the project activities as presented by us (Project Manager Hermanni Backer and Project Officer Manuel Frias).


Transparencies and paper maps used for the planning exercise

After initial presentations and discussions the participants were divided in two groups (North and South Bothnian Sea) and were asked to draw on a map a plan taking into account important areas for nature protection, fisheries, marine traffic, wind power areas, etc.

Both groups came up with maps, comments and suggestions that will be very valuable for our project. Thank you again to the participants!

Planning the Sea of Colors

Presenting the results of the Sea of Colors game

The second day of the workshop consisted of a so called “serious game” -very well organized  by the University of Delft. All participants were given the roles of different actors in MSP (stakeholders, planners…) and had to develop a Marine Spatial Plan in one day on an area called “the sea of colors” resembling the Kattegat area. The result was a challenging and fun experience. We made the following observations from the game :

  • The planning process you adopt determines to a large degree the outcome
  • Openness and transparency is a good thing (at least with cooperative participants/stakeholders like we did in our “countries”)
  • Many elements fall in place early in the process
  • Planning is an activity which has a large potential for creative chaos!
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