Improving the health of the Baltic Sea and humans

BONUS GOHERR research project (2015-18) explores the governance of two interrelated keystone fisheries of the Baltic Sea: salmon and herring. Fatty Baltic Sea fish provide a rich source of Omega3 fatty acids and vitamin D for humans and could be attractive for people favoring locally produced healthy food. A problem in common for Baltic salmon and herring is, however, that they contain high concentrations of harmful dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs. Frequently the dioxin levels in these fish exceed the limit set by the EU for food and feed. Owing to the dioxin, the value of these fish for human consumption is low, and the authorities recommend restricting their intake. In addition, the use of salmon is problematic because of the fragile state of the wild stocks.

BONUS GOHERR project examines potential ways to decrease the dioxin content of these fish and improve the sustainable use of the stocks. The project is funded by BONUS, the joint Baltic Sea research and development programme for years 2010-2017.

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Aims in a nutshell:

  • Analyse the predator-prey relationship between Baltic salmon and herring, and its consequences for bio-accumulation of dioxins
  • Examine the determinants and trends in people’s fish eating habits, and their impact on both dioxin intake and the state of the fish stocks
  • Map future scenarios for the use of Baltic salmon and herring
  • Identify how sociocultural values affect the use and management of  these fish species
  • Explore possible benefits of integrated ecosystem-based governance for Baltic salmon and herring in improving their sustainable use and decreasing dioxin
  • Combine the results of the project into a decision support model

More information: Workspace and Assessment in, a wiki-based website for helping societal decision making.