Specialists of the Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Center meet the HELCOM experts


The specialists of the Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Center located at the premises of Vodokanal’s treatment plant in Repino made a presentation about Baltic pinnipeds at the international meeting of experts in marine mammals from the HELCOM countries in Hel, Poland.

The founders of the Baltic Ringed Seal Friends Fund, Vyacheslav Alexeyev and Elena Andrievskaya, shared their experience in the saving of the Baltic ringed seal Little Inger. The conference participants were happy to hear that the ringed seal has adapted successfully to wildlife after one year of rehabilitation at the Centre.

Let us remind that Little Inger was brought to the Centre in a critical condition on 21 April 2015. Its injuries – inflammation of soft tissues on its snout and a broken jaw – would not heal, and the patient had to stay for another year of rehabilitation, till the start of the next season. Now the Centre specialists keep watch over their fosterling by means of a satellite transmitter fixed to the animal’s body in a safe way. According to the latest data, Little Inger is near the Alands in the Gulf of Bothnia.

Moreover, the Centre zoologists furnished information about the number of animals perished in the Gulf of Finland and the pattern of seal distribution across the water area in spring. The information could be collected thanks to the citizens of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region: fishermen, maritime service officers and concerned citizens. Such facts are extremely valuable for studies of rare pinniped populations in the Baltic Sea.

Meetings of HELCOM experts in marine mammals are organized on an annual basis. They are dedicated to discussions of various issues, such as abundance dynamics of marine mammals, health of their populations, and approaches to harmless co-existence of animals and people.

The HELCOM (Helsinki Commission) activities are focused on the protection of the Baltic Sea marine environment from all pollution sources and are carried out in the framework of the Helsinki Convention signed in 1992 by the member-countries: Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Germany and Poland.

In particular, the HELCOM issues recommendations on regulatory requirements to wastewater treatment quality. Due to Vodokanal performance, St. Petersburg fully meets the most stringent recommendations of the Helsinki Commission: concentrations of phosphorus in the treated effluent do not exceed 0.5 mg/l, and concentrations of nitrogen – 10 mg/l.

Enhanced nutrient removal technologies are implemented at all wastewater treatment plants. As much as 98.5 % of municipal sewage is treated.

It should be reminded that, in the season 2016, 17 out of 18 patients were rehabilitated successfully at the Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Centre and returned to their natural habitats. The seal pup Kroshik, or Nanomekerikke, will stay in Repino for another year. All in all, 66 seals have been saved throughout the existence of the Centre, while the total number of patients rehabilitated by the zoologists is near one hundred.

If you want to contribute to the rescue of seals, visit the website of the Baltic Ringed Seal Friends Fund, section “How to Help Us?”: http://www.balticseal.org/donation/.

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