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Baltic Diversity Notes - BONUS BIO-C3

Bringing you updates on Baltic Sea biodiversity from the BIO-C3 project and thoughts on life as a young researcher
23.12.2014 19:21

Red Listed Christmas delights

Anna Törnroos

Enjoying the holidays and some thoughts about Red Listed species on our Christmas table.

Greetings from way up the Baltic Sea, where the ice sheet is just about to settle after a warm start to the winter!


After celebrating last year in Costa Rica´s rainforests, this time I´m spending a proper Finnish Christmas holiday, with snow and minus degrees up in Vasa, which lies on the West coast, “half way” up north, of Finland. We topped off the Christmas preparations today with some gift deliveries to various Santas and the traditional fish shopping for the Christmas table. For this we went out into the Kvarken (the Quark) archipelago and to one of the local fish smokehouses, just on the boarder to the UNESCO World Heritage area formed by the High Coast on the Swedish side and the Kvarken archipelago on the Finnish coast (


I love this place, not only for its stunning landscape, but because there´s always some nature activity. This time we saw two White-tailed eagles hunting over the still partly open waters (unfortunately not captured on the picture below!).

Quark in December 2014
The Replot bridge in the Kvarken (Quark) archipelago, that leads out to the UNESCO World Heritage site.

After buying our herring, I started to wonder about which fish species that are threatened or declining in the Baltic Sea, and thus should not necessarily find their way to our Christmas tables. The first species I came to think of was of course the eel but also the whitefish and grayling, but unfortunately there´s many more that we should think twice about before putting on our holiday plates. If you’re interested then check out the latest Red List assessment of Baltic Sea species by HELCOM, which conveniently also follows the international standards through the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (here´s the one for Fish and lamprey species:



I wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope to swing by here once more before new year!

Take care, 





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14.01.2015 11:46
Fish on the table
Nice, Anna; it is a pity that we even have to reflect about which fish species to eat from the Baltic. But we do. On the other hand, we should also bear in mind that the alternatives - either not eating fish at all, or having to stick to imported fish from who knows where - actually help us; hope you enjoyed your Christmas-herring etc!