The project “Implementation of Natura 2000 in Estonian Marine Areas: site selection, designation and protection measures – ESTMAR” was implemented by the Estonian Marine Institute and partners from November 2007 till April 2011 with the financial support of the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and Estonian Environmental Investment Centre.

The project budget was ca 600 000 €.

The goal of the project was to contribute to the implementation of Natura 2000 in Estonian marine areas.

Project activities and results:

I Investigations for potential new Natura 2000 sites in offshore areas of Estonia

-       Inventories of seabirds, fish, marine mammals and benthic habitats were carried out at selected offshore shoals.

-       The data on offshore shoals studied in 2007–2010 were compiled and comprative analysis of their nature values was carried out. The analysis included 18 areas for birds, 15 areas for fish and 14 areas for benthic biota. Conclusions regarding the importnce of the studied shoals for marine mammals (i.e. seals in Estonian context) were drawn mainly based on data from earlier studies because the only possible method for investigting those mobile animals in offshore areas is telemetry for which unfortunately no means were foreseen in the ESTMAR project.

-       For five most valuable offshore shoals the protection proposals (including site borders, protection regime and management recommendations) were developed.

II Developing management plans for six existing Natura 2000 sites in the coastal sea based on existing data

  • Management plans were developed for the marine parts of the following protected areas:
    • Kolga lahe landscape protection area (LPA) and limited conservation area (LCA)
    • Pakri LPA and LCA
    • Vilsandi National Park
    • Kura kurgu LCA
    • Kahtla-Kübassaare LCA and Kübassaare LPA
    • Väikese väina LCA

III International experience exchange and awareness raising

-       International seminars:

  • “Experience exchange on possible legal implications at future Marine Natura 2000 sites in the Baltic States and evaluation of findings from the site inventories 2005-2008” (11-12.06.2008, Jurmala, Latvia)
  • “Protecting the marine eco-system – Lessons learned from project activities in Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian marine waters” (27-28.10.2009, Sigulda, Latvia)
  • „Experience exchange on methodology for biodiversity investigations and selection of Natura 2000 sites in the non-coastal areas of the Baltic Sea“ (15-16.03.2011, Roosta, Estonia)

-       Information materials for stakeholders and broader public:

  • Leaflets-brochures:
    • Project introduction leaflet (in Estonian and English)
    • The brochure in Estonian languge introducing offshore species and habitats „Avamere elurikkus“ (Balti Keskkonnafoorum, 2011)
    • Project summary, introducing the results
  • The book „Valuable offshore shoals in Estonian waters“ (Balti Keskkonnfoorum, 2011) in Estonian language with English summaries;
  • Project website

Projekti rahastavad Norra finantsmehhanismid ja Keskkonnainvesteeringute Keskus.