The Baltic Sea is one of the shallowest and most polluted seas in the world. To protect the Baltic Sea, we improve the living conditions of flora and fauna, including native species of seals. Check what you can do for the sea to make the seals better and protect the sea!
Over the past 100 years, the seal population in the Baltic Sea has drastically decreased. Fortunately, we have seen an increase in their numbers for past several years. Unfortunately, their population in the Polish part of the Baltic Sea is still unsatisfactory, therefore activities supporting the protection of these animals are carried out as part of the protection of the Baltic Sea.
While walking along the Polish beaches of the Baltic Sea, we can meet seals resting in the rays of the sun. There are three species of seals in Poland – the gray seal – the most numerous, the harbor seal and the least common ringed seal. Seals are mammals, without which it is difficult to imagine the Baltic landscape, which is why the gray seal has become the symbol of the Polish Waters project – Protect the Sea! It happens that seals go up the rivers in search of food. This winter, one of them appeared at the barrage in Włocławek, swimming through almost a 300-kilometer section of the Vistula!
The protection of the habitats of seals living on the Baltic coast is one of the postulates of the project to update the Marine Waters Protection Program – aPOWM. Although in recent years we have observed an increase in the number of these animals, we still need to continue to protect them.
Pressures and impacts – threat analysis for seals
Seals need access to optimal resting, molting and breeding sites. In Poland, we are dealing with the development of tourism and a lot of tourist pressure; practically on the entire coastal area. It happens that the animals are disturbed while resting. Sea transport, fishingy and even hydrotechnical works, such as the reconstruction of breakwaters or coastal bands, are factors that may affect the state of the seal population. They are not indifferent to pollutants, such as synthetic and non-synthetic substances, radionuclides or waste, as well as noise and water eutrophication.
The gray seal is under strict species protection and indicated as a subject of protection in eight Natura 2000 areas, including Zatoka Pucka and the Hel Peninsula (PLH220032) and Ostoja in the mouth of the Vistula (PLH220044 Habitats protection).
Protective measures should primarily include the introduction of the so-called “Safe nets”, allowing for a significant reduction of by-catch and the designation of special protection zones in key resting, molting and breeding areas for the species.
The Marine Waters Protection Program (aPOWM) contains a catalogue of activities aimed at achieving good environmental status of marine waters – GES *, based on selected features, including biodiversity, the complexity of which is also evidenced by the presence and state of national seal populations. Man exerts various pressures on the marine environment, changing the state of the marine environment, and also worsening it.
PGW Waters Polskie is responsible for the development of the POWM, and the activities under the project are carried out by various government and local government units and entities. These are also activities that each of us can carry out. Thanks to the cooperation and increasing the awareness of our citizens, we can improve the condition of our Baltic Sea. Therefore, save the sea with us!
* GES – means “the state of the environment of marine waters creating ecologically diverse and dynamic oceans and seas, which are clean, healthy and fertile in relation to their conditions, and the use of the marine environment takes place at a level that is sustainable and guarantees the preservation of opportunities. use and conduct of activities by present and future generations “(Art. 3 RDSM)