On January 18th, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and the Baltic Works Commission organized a seminar about the challenges the Baltic Sea protection is facing within the next 20 years. The focus in Stockholm was on innovative measures to combat eutrophication. The seminar offered a comprehensive view on the research and development work conducted on measures targeting the nutrients already in the sea, particularly those in the sediment. For Efficient Baltic Sea protection this is essential, as the stock of fully algal available phosphorus in deep sediments is as much as fifteen times larger than the annual loading of dissolved phosphorus.
Nutritrade-project has committed to creating a platform combining those with innovative and verifiable protection measures with those willing to participate in financing them. For the sake of efficiency, we need to acknowledge also the measures targeting the nutrient stock, not only those targeting external nutrient loading. Within a one day seminar, we got a good overview of the potential usefulness and also of the critical issues when generating nutrient credits for such measures: quantification and verification. The measures aiming to prevent the release of phosphorus from the bottom sediments have the tedious task in finding ways to quantify the effect of the measures. Large-scale pilots are needed on measures such as oxygenation or spreading marl on deep water sediments before they could enter the future platform for nutrient trading.
Equally importantly, the seminar offered a way to scope the possibilities of utilizing the ongoing Nutritrade pilot measures in Sweden. And not only the actual measures but also the way our pilots have been designed and conducted. The stubbornness of our project to go after numbers is a virtue worth spreading. One can’t over emphasize the need for quantifying the economic costs and environmental effects of the measures we are utilizing. After many years of intriguing research work it might be that a conservation measure is out there in the world, implemented by farmers, fishermen or industrial units. At that point, all there is of interest for the Baltic Sea is: What does it deliver. And all there is of interest for those who cover the expenses: What does it cost?
Text by Antti Iho, Luke