Smart Sea – Gulf of Bothnia as Resource for Sustainable Growth

The purpose of the Smart Sea project is to support the growth of commercial marine activities in the Gulf of Bothnia region. The key idea is that sustainable growth can only be attained by planning the use of sea areas wisely. At the same time, synergies between activities can be increased.

The Gulf of Bothnia is an essential resource in terms of fish farming and wind power, for example, and it is also possible to make use of the geological natural resources of the gulf. Furthermore, the Gulf of Bothnia is an area in which the climate change impacts the conditions to a notable extent, from the severity of ice winters to the abundance of the fish stock.

Impact from human activities and climate change 

The rapid growth of the commercial marine activities and the consequences of the climate change may lead to conflicts between the different activities and harm the marine ecosystem at the Gulf of Bothnia. The project aims to identify these risks and find solutions for the sustainable use of the sea.

The SmartSea project involves an assessment of the ways in which the Gulf of Bothnia will change in the next decades. In addition to assessing the impacts of the climate change, the project aims to find out how the natural resources at the seabed can be used in a sustainable manner, map the risks imposed on the marine nature by commercial activities and develop new fish farming methods.

Sustainable growth by wise use of the sea area

The key idea is that sustainable growth can only be attained by planning the use of sea areas wisely. At the same time, synergies between the activities can be increased.

An essential part of the project is identifying practical and administrative obstacles to 'blue growth', i.e. commercial activities related to the sea. SmartSea will also examine possible ways to mitigate the human-induced strain on marine environments by focusing such functions as fish farming and wind power production on specific areas.

The project will produce a maritime spatial planning tool that can be used to weigh the risks of different activities, such as coastal construction, nature reserve areas and offshore activities.

Role of SMHI

SMHI is responsible for the production and distribution of ocean and atmosphere model data in the project. A 1 nm resolution version of an ocean-sea ice and ecosystem model will be used (NemoNordic-SCOBI). Wave climate changes will be calculated with the WAve Model (WAM) at FMI. SMHI will conduct hindcast and control simulations for the period 1961-2005 and an ensemble of climate scenarios continuing from 2006 until 2060. The atmospheric forcing data are available reanalysis products as well as down scaled climate projections from Global Climate Models. This work will be done within Work package 2, Task 2.1, where SMHI is responsible.


The project will last for six years and its funding totals nearly eight million euros. The project involves close to 40 researchers from eight different institutions: the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Finnish Environment Institute, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Geological Survey of Finland, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the Universities of Helsinki and Turku and the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI).


This project has received funding from the Academy of Finland.