The theme for 2004 was the Swedish environmental quality objectives, with a special focus on the objectives for the marine environment and for forests
Marine focus at Flora- & Fauna Conference
The Swedish Species Information Centre hosts the Flora- and Fauna Conservation Conference in April every year. The theme for 2004 was the Swedish environmental quality objectives, with a special focus on the objectives for the marine environment and for forests. A proposal to add another quality objective for biological diversity was also discussed. Attending the conference were 450 representatives of local and regional authorities and NGO:s. The fisheries industry was not represented.
The Swedish Government’s work for sustainability is based on a set of 15 identified environmental quality objectives adopted by the Parliament in 1998. The objectives describe Sweden’s natural and cultural environment when ecologically sustainable development has been achieved. To attain the objectives, a set of interim targets and strategies have been adopted. The Swedish Government is now debating whether a 16:th objective called A Rich Flora and Fauna should be added, and will present a bill to the parliament next year.
Marine interim target will not be reached
During the conference, it was recognized that the first interim target for the quality objective A Balanced Marine Environment, specifying that 5 new marine areas should be protected as nature reserves by 2005, will not be reached.
If a 16:th environmental objective is adopted, there will be new interim targets for threatened species and for invading alien species, which will apply to the marine environment. According to the first proposed target, the number of threatened species should be reduced by 30 per cent. There will also be a new interim target (target 6) for sustainable management of wildlife resources, which would affect both hunting and fishing activities.
On the proposed quality objective and its interim targets, Ms Maria Wetterstrand from the Green Party summarised the many comments received. A majority was positive, and most of the criticism came from the regional County Administrative Boards. She was pleased with the complementary character of most comments. For instance, several organisations have pointed out that the positive effects of achieving interim target 6 should be better described, as thriving wildlife and fish populations give a basis for sports and tourist activities with likely positive effects on health and local economies.
Status of marine species
Another issue discussed at the conference was the status of marine species. Populations of several fish species in the Baltic Sea and along the Swedish west coast are now alarmingly small, and will be added to the Swedish Red List of threatened species next year. Today, six marine fish species are on the Red List: Sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus ), two species of ray (Dipturus batis and Raja clavata) two species of shark (Cetorhinus maximus and Lamna nasus) and salmon (Salmo salar). Among the species likely to be added to the list next year are eel (Anguilla anguilla) and cod (Gadus morhua).
The 15 environmental quality objectives can be found on the website of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), or here on the website of the Swedish Environmental Ministry.
The proposal for a 16:th environmental quality objective (pdf) on biological diversity can be found in Swedish with English summary on the SEPA-site.
Information about the investigations carried out by the Swedish National Board of Fisheries about creating marine protected areas can be found in Swedish here.
The report of The Swedish National Board of Fisheries to the Environmental Ministry is only available on paper and in Swedish:Hjerpe J, U. Bergström, A-B. Florin & K. Grip, 2004:Bakgrundsmaterial för utredning av möjligheten att införa fiskestopp i ett skyddat marint område. Delrapport, Fiskeriverket.
The Swedish Red List of threatened fish species can be found here.