Coastal Fishery, Biodiversity, Spatial Use and Climate Change:

A Participative Approach to navigate the Western Baltic Sea into a Sustainable Future

Coastal fisheries in the Western Baltic Sea are under great pressure, with unforeseeable consequences for the economic development of the associated coastal communities. Anthropogenic influences such as overfishing of cod and herring, eutrophication of the Baltic Sea as well as climate change are major contributors. In addition, fisheries increasingly suffer from spatial conflicts for instance with necessary nature reserves to preserve biodiversity and wind farms to mitigate climate change. 

On land, growing tourism is taking up more and more space on the coasts, which can lead to displacement of commercial fishers by recreational fisherboats.


Solution approach living labs

In living labs, science and society meet and jointly seek solutions for sustainable development of Baltic Sea fisheries. This transdisciplinary collaboration is key to sustainable developments because they are jointly conceived, developed, tested and reflected upon by different stakeholders in society.



Development of scientific and policy action knowledge to help small scale fisheries of the Western Baltic Sea towards a sustainable future, while protecting biodiversity, and take into account tourism and offshore energy production.

  • Options to prevent the economic collapse of the Western Baltic small scale fisheries and the resulting socio-cultural consequences.

  • Ideas for the transformation of small scale fisheries from an endangered economic entity to a sustainable socio-ecological economic form.

  • Development of sustainable solutions to the multiple conflicts between user and interest groups and civil society.

Contribution to closing current knowledge gaps

The practical relevance in the real labs is linked to 5 research work packages. In this way, current knowledge is made practically usable, new knowledge is generated and supplemented through international cooperation.

The broad range of topics includes understanding the functioning of the Baltic Sea ecosystem and its biodiversity, especially with regard to the fish species cod and herring. In socio-economic analyses, political processes and pressures on fisheries are examined. Various future scenarios are created for both the development of the fish population and the development of fisheries, which provide a basis for better fisheries management.

An assessment of the processes concerning the fisheries of the Western Baltic Sea will be carried out in order to develop action proposals for policy, in which options for a sustainable future of fisheries will be identified.