The Baltic Sea Action Plan Fund (BSAP) is co-financing the John Nurminen Foundation initiative, which is exploring the increased usage of cyprinid fish to help restore the nutrient balance in the Baltic Sea.

The John Nurminen Foundation launched their first project to commercialise cyprinid fish from the Baltic Sea for human consumption in Finland in 2015. The BSAP grant funding is enabling an expansion of commercial fishing of cyprinid species to Sweden and the Åland Islands.

The Baltic Fish project will work closely with local authorities to create rules for sustainable fishing management, monitor fishing practices as well as ensure all the health aspects for human consumption. Moreover, the project will collaborate with commercial producers and partners to establish well-functioning production chains and commercialisation of the products. The first products are expected to be available for Swedish consumers in 2020.

Fishing plays a vital role in recycling nutrients from the Baltic Sea and is currently the only large-scale method to recycle nutrients from the Baltic Sea to land. In Finland, fishing reduces phosphorus in watercourses by 700 tonnes annually, which is more than twice the country’s phosphorus reduction target from land-based sources under the Baltic Sea marine protection agreement.

Cyprinid fish, in particular, such as bream and roach, benefit from eutrophication and have thus become abundant in the Baltic Sea. Fishing of cyprinid fish and other underused fish species is an effective method to recycle nutrients and improve the health of eutrophied waters. In addition, cyprinid fish is a healthy and sustainable food source.

“Eating sustainably caught Baltic wild fish, especially underused species, benefits the sea and is a climate-friendly food choice. Moreover, by creating income for local fisheries, we help to maintain the traditional livelihood of coastal fishing, which is an integral part of the Swedish and Finnish archipelago culture,” says Marjukka Porvari, Director of the Baltic Sea projects at the John Nurminen Foundation.

“The Baltic Fish project is an innovative concept that simultaneously contributes to restoring the nutrient balance in the Baltic Sea and provides a new locally produced and sustainable protein source for people living around the sea. We are proud to be part of this cooperation between Finland and Sweden and to grant financing from the BSAP Fund to enable greater commercialisation of the concept,” says Anja Nystén, Senior Manager at NEFCO and Fund Manager of the BSAP Fund.

The project will be developed in cooperation with several partners, including Race for the Baltic, Guldhaven Pelagiska, Rädda Lumparn, Ålands Fiskarförbund and the John Nurminen Foundation.

The Baltic Sea Action Plan Fund (BSAP) was set up in 2010 to help speed up the implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan, adopted by the HELCOM member countries in 2007. The Fund provides grant financing for project preparation, technical assistance and implementation. A key purpose of the Fund is to facilitate and speed up the preparation of bankable projects from both public and private entities. The BSAP Fund is financed by contributions from the governments of Sweden and Finland and jointly managed by NEFCO and the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB).

For further information, please contact:

Anja Nystén, Senior Manager at NEFCO
anja.nysten@nefco.fi, tel. +358 10 6180 663

Marjukka Porvari, Director of the Baltic Sea projects at the John Nurminen Foundation
marjukka.porvar@jnfoundation.fi, tel. +358 41 549 1535

About the John Nurminen Foundation

The John Nurminen Foundation was founded in 1992 to save the Baltic Sea and its heritage for future generations. The Foundation has received awards for its work as a communicator of information and producer of marine content. The goal of the Foundation’s Clean Baltic Sea projects is to improve the condition of the Baltic Sea with tangible measures that will reduce the load and environmental risks aimed at the sea. Our work is guided by measurable results and impact. www.johnnurmisensaatio.fi

Photo: Roach swimming in the Baltic Sea/Shutterstock