About the HERRING project

HERRING - Joint cross-border actions
for the sustainable management of a natural resource

HERRING is an international project in the South Baltic, funded by the South Baltic Cross-border Co-operation Programme 2007 - 2013.

Using herring as an example, the project aims at an improved management of the region's coastal areas by pointing out their important ecosystem function as natural spawning areas.

Coastal areas in the South Baltic region provide important spawning habitats for the Baltic herring. The ICES advice and stricter adherence to the agreed total allowable catches have resulted in a more sustainable fisheries management. However, the two most important herring stocks of the central Baltic have declined substantially, the western Baltic spring spawning stock being at its lowest recorded level.

Alongside fisheries management measures, coastal spawning and nursery grounds play a vital role in the recovery of herring stocks. Spawning success and growth of fish larvae depend substantially on the quality of coastal habitats (availability of macrophytes as spawning substrate, temperature, water and food quality, etc.). Until now, monitoring of the quality and importance of coastal spawning areas in the riparian member states has not been holistically taken into account for overall Baltic Sea fisheries management.files/base/img/dawrf eelgrass_Timo Kleinrueschkamp.jpg

The region’s coastal waters are of high economic interest and underlie various and increasing human uses. Management and planning of coastal and adjacent maritime areas is under the jurisdiction of national and regional administrations or counties, following state and national law for land and sea-use planning, and EU directives (such as EU Water Framework Directive, Marine Strategy Framework Directive, NATURA 2000).

Still, competencies are fragmented and partly conflicting, often follow one-dimensional approaches, and thereby often impede overall sustainable coastal management. In future, spatial conflicts, climate change impacts and anthropogenic water quality deterioration will put additional pressure on coastal spawning and nursery areas.

HERRING will draw the attention to this situation, bring together relevant actors, and provide a neutral platform for cross-over exchange to identify best-practice and to adjust regional spatial management for the benefit of the Baltic Sea ecosystem and the people living off its natural resources.