A cleaner Gulf of Finland would provide tens of millions of euros in recreational benefits annually

Press release 2015-01-15 at 14:11

Improving the state of the Gulf of Finland would benefit the recreational use of coastal properties by over 50 million euros annually. The greatest benefits would come from the decrease of algal blooms that hinder swimming. The recreational benefits of improved water quality were studied by SYKE using a survey and a calculation model.


© Tapio Heikkilä

Nearly all of the respondents reported experiencing situations where poor water quality had hindered swimming. In addition to this, approximately half of the respondents had decreased their time spent at the coast of the Gulf of Finland because of poor water quality.

Coastal properties in Porvoo would benefit the most

"Annual recreational benefits were determined separately for each locality from Vironlahti to Hanko. The areas that would benefit the most from improved water quality are the coastal areas of Porvoo, where the total benefit would be approximately 12 million euros. There are approximately 3,000 properties in the area. The benefits of achieving a good ecological state of the sea would benefit the users of a single coastal property by an average of 2,300 euros annually," summarizes planner Turo Hjerppe.

In Raasepori, benefits were also assessed from the perspective of swimmers, boaters and fishermen

A more detailed assessment was carried out in the coastal areas of Raasepori, which, in addition to the users of coastal properties, also covered swimmers, fishermen and boaters who do not have the chance to use coastal properties. In the Raasepori area, the annual recreational benefits of achieving a good ecological state would be approximately 7.2 million euros, of which the share of people who do not use coastal properties would be approximately 17 %.

Consistent national assessment of recreational benefits needed

The study was based on a survey of 281 owners of coastal properties carried out in 2011. The results were used to assess the suitability of the waters for different recreational uses.

The VIRVA model used in the study can also be applied to other coastal areas and water systems. Consistent national assessment of recreational benefits is needed for planning measures that aim to achieve the good state of waters, which is the objective of the Act on Water Resources Management.

The study was carried out as part of the GisBloom project

The study was carried out as part of the national EU Life+ funded GisBloom project. The aim of the project is to improve the state of waters and the participation of citizens and associations in monitoring the state of waters and in the cost-effective prevention of eutrophication. The project operated in 11 pilot areas in different parts of Finland, with participants including SYKE, the University of Helsinki, Arbonaut Oy, Vesijärvisäätiö, the Association for Water and Environment of Western Uusimaa and the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment of Southern Ostrobothnia.

More information

Coordinator Turo Hjerppe, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, tel. +358 295 251 176, firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi

Communication Specialist Katri Haatainen, tel. +358 295 251 135, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi

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