The total area of the Baltic Sea is 422 000 square kilometres. The Finnish territorial waters and the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) take up slightly less than one fifth of the total area (82 000 km2). The share of the Baltic Sea of Finland's total area is 19%.
Baltic Sea is only a little more than 10 000 years old. I addition, its history includes several sequential freshwater and marine phases. For these reasons only a few species has had sufficient time to adopt to Baltic Sea's unique conditions. Also, dispersing along natural routes to the Baltic Sea is quite slow for many marine species. Salinity of the Baltic Sea is relatively low, because approximately a half of the Baltic sea water is coming from rivers. Salinity decreases further towards east and north, being lowest in the bottoms of the Gulf of Finland and Bothnian Bay.
Relatively small amount of actual marine species occurs in the Finnish territorial waters because of low salinity of the coastal areas. Only 1 % of well-known species primarily inhabits the Baltic Sea. However, the real share of marine species is in reality greater than this, because a large amount for example micro-algae (approximately 5 000 species) is poorly known and has not been evaluated. Baltic Sea is the most important habitat for many fishes, molluscs, marine mammals, birds and macro-algae.
What and where
- Updated (14.05.2013)