Gulf of Finland Year gives an impetus to new initiatives

10.04.2014

On Thursday, 10 April, Vodokanal St. Petersburg hosted the Public Council meeting dedicated to the Gulf of Finland Year 2014 trilateral cooperation project.

The Public Council meeting participants discussed different issues regarding the main events under the trilateral international project. In particular, they scrutinized the agenda of the citywide festival “Gulf of Finland – Area of Cooperation”.

The delegates from the Not-For-Profit Partnership “Marine Mammal Rehabilitation Centre of Leningrad Region” told about the project aiming to save the Baltic ringed seal. The project is implemented together with Vodokanal.

Today, the local population of ringed seal in the Gulf of Finland numbers 200 animals only and is critically low (in 1970-80s, around 4,000 animals lived there). Ringed seal pups are born in February-March with the birth weight about 4kg. Cows nurture their pups on the ice in special dens and shelters in snow drifts with stable temperature inside. For the normal raising of their offspring within 5-6 weeks ringed seals need solid ice and a snow blanket at least 30cm thick. In this season the thin ice in the Gulf has melted very early. The pups seated on the ice surface without any shelter are quite vulnerable to predatory birds and animals, stray dogs, wind and precipitation.

The Pinnipedian Rehabilitation Station at Vodokanal’s treatment plant in Repino admits sick or injured pups suffering premature detachment from their mothers. The station has all that is needed to help little grey or ringed seals who lost their mothers early and got into trouble. The animals are cured, fed high and made ready for release to their natural habitat.

In their presentation, the specialists of NPP “Marine Mammal Rehabilitation Centre” Vyacheslav Alexeyev and Elena Andrievskaya came with a proposal to create a permanent unit working to preserve the vanishing sub-population of ringed seal in the Gulf of Finland. The specialists have already developed an array of measures to integrate the ringed seal into a changed environment, such as rescue actions, veterinary aid, and rehabilitation of Baltic ringed seal pups. Moreover, it is proposed to set up a public patrol unit to keep watch over ringed seals in the Gulf of Finland.

Other speakers commented on the results of XV International Environmental Forum “The Baltic Sea Day”, on the assessment of nutrient pollution sources in the private lands within the Neva catchment area (in the framework of HELCOM-ЕС BASE project), etc.

It should be reminded that, by decision of three countries, Russia, Finland and Estonia, 2014 was announced the Gulf of Finland Year. The Public Council was established in March 2013. The members of the Council are: Art Director of Mariyinskiy Theatre V.A. Gergiyev, Director of the State Russian Museum V.A. Gusev, Director of the State Hermitage Museum M.B. Piotrovskiy, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Limnology V.A. Rumyantsev, Chairman of the Union of Journalists of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region L.D. Fomicheva, Director General of SUE "Vodokanal of St. Petersburg" F.V. Karmazinov, and representatives of industrial companies, public organizations, executive and legislative authorities, etc.

The first session of the Public Council dedicated to the Gulf of Finland Year 2014 Project was held on 22 March 2013, the second one – on 13 December 2013.

Press-release

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