Regulation of watercourses

65) Continue to reduce the detrimental impacts from the regulation of water and developing practices for the release of water in cooperation with permit holders, municipalities and other key actors. Continue the removal of fish to reduce nutrient loads in aquatic ecosystems and to prevent eutrophication.

Responsible institutions: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of the Environment

Schedule: 2013–2020


Status in 2018: Since 2013, approximately 30 development projects to improve the regulation of watercourses have been initiated, and almost all of these have investigated the ecological consequences of regulation for inland waters (especially for fish and aquatic vegetation). The development projects have proposed recommendations for changing regulation practices, improving the migration of fish and restoring waterbodies. As result of these projects, applications have been drafted to change the regulation procedure and to replace regulating dams with bottom dams. At the moment, there are about a dozen development projects in progress in different parts of Finland. 

The Government’s Analysis, Assessment and Research Activities has assessed the development of regulation to improve the state of migratory fish in its KalaVirta Assessment completed in 2017. The project suggests improving the regulation of watercourses by emphasising more the condition of migratory fish in the most valuable areas. The recommendations are being implemented, for example by better considering migratory fish in existing regulation licences.

Fishing of species of low economic value in eutrophicated waters is largely being practised, and it is expected to increase because of the increased market value of cyprinids. This fishing is usually practised by local managment associations, and no nation-wide information has been gathered.