The archipelago of Kemi-Tornio-Haparanda

People walking on the bech

The archipelago of Kemi–Tornio-Haparanda is a truly unique area, located at the northern most part of the Baltic Sea. This is where the two large rivers of Tornio and Kemi enters the sea after carrying water all the way from the mountains in the north down to the coastal shores.  Where the rivers enter the sea, estuaries are formed. They are shallow areas with small banks and islands formed by the sediment deposited from the river. Many plants and animals find their shelter and food within the estuaries. Salmon for example, pass through them on their travels upstream the river. Further out at sea an archipelago of hundreds of mostly small islands can be found. This is where you find the maybe most well-known islands Sandskär (on the Swedish side) and Selkä-Sarvi (on the Finnish side). Sandskär is known for its long, sandy beaches and rich bird life. Selkä-Sarvi is a one kilometer long island, known for its history as a fishing village and nowadays from its harbour and the public sauna.

Shoreline at Sandskär
Shoreline at Sandskär. Photo by Jörgen Naalisvaara.
View over Selkä-Sarvi
View over Selkä-Sarvi. Photo by Suvi Saarnio.

In 2018 the coastal area of the northern Bothnian Bay was appointed as an Ecological or Biological Significant Area (EBSA) by the UN Convention on Biodiversity, with Kemi–Tornio-Haparanda right at the heart of it. The area fulfilled the scientific criteria of the convention and was appointed due to its unique landscape with high nature values and relatively large proportion of endangered and endemic species.

Siberian primrose
The beautiful pink Siberian primrose (Primula nutans) grows on the islands in the area together with other characteristic flowers such as field wormwood (Artemisia campestris ssp. bottnica).  Photo by Petra Pohjola.
Baltic water-plantain
The Baltic water-plantain (Alisma wahlenbergii) can be found at shallow shores on for example the islands of Sandskär and Seskar-Furö. It is endemic to the Baltic Sea with some of its largest populations found in the northern Bothnian Bay. It is classified as an endangered species in Finland and near threatened in Sweden and protected by law in both countries. Photo by Aimi Hamberg.
Meadow of charales
Stoneworts (Charales) form green meadows at the shallow bottoms in the area. They are thin, delicate algae looking almost like small Christmas trees. Photo by Petra Pohjola.

Today some of the islands within the archipelago are part of the two national parks in the area, Haparanda Skärgård National Park on the Swedish side and Bothnian Bay National Park (Perämeren kansallispuisto) on the Finnish side. Other islands are protected as Natura 2000 areas for their importance for e.g. migrating birds, flora or forests.

The archipelago is not only appreciated by plants and animals, it also offers beautiful scenery, recreation and income for humans too. The national parks are popular places for visitors.

People walking on the bech
Beach on Vähä-Huituri. Photo by Suvi Saarnio.

The sea and its inhabitants know no borders and move between Sweden and Finland freely. In order to secure their future and protect their habitats, would the Haparanda – Tornio-Kemi area benefit from being a cross-border marine protected area? Would it be beneficial for the environment, and would you the people of the area benefit from it? This is what we are investigating as part of the SeaCOMBO project, and we would like to hear your opinion and thoughts in this matter. Do you live, work, visit or are you connected to the area in any other ways, please take a couple of minutes and answer our survey!

Link to more information about the survey


Suomeksi

Haaparanta-Kemi-Tornion saaristo on todella ainutlaatuinen alue. Siellä kaksi suurta jokea yhtyvät mereen ja tuovat alueelle vettä kaukaa pohjoisesta. Näiden jokien ja meren yhtymäkohtaan syntyy jokisuisto, joka on matala alue, jossa on paljon hiekkasärkkiä ja pieniä saaria, jotka muodostuvat jokien kuljettamasta aineksesta. Jokisuistot ovat tärkeitä monille eliöille, esimerkiksi lohelle. Kun Haaparannan-Kemi-Tornion jokisuistosta liikutaan ulospäin merelle, löydämme satoja pieniä saaria. Tältä alueelta löytyy ehkä saariston tunnetuimmat saaret, Sandskär (Ruotsin puolella) ja Selkä-Sarvi (Suomen puolella). Sandskär on tunnettu pitkistä hiekkarannoistaan ja rikkaasta lintulajistosta. Selkä-Sarvi on noin kilometrin pituinen saari, joka tunnetaan sen historiasta kalastajakylänä ja nykyisin saarella olevasta yleisestä saunasta.

Vuonna 2018 tämä pohjoisen Perämeren rannikkoalue nimettiin EBSA-alueeksi (ekologisesti tai biologisesti merkittävä merialue), koska alueella on niin ainutlaatuinen meriluonto ja suuret luontoarvot, sekä paljon uhanalaisia ja kotoperäisiä lajeja.

Meri ja sen eliöt eivät tunne rajoja ja ne liikkuvat Suomen ja Ruotsin välillä vapaasti. Jotta niiden tulevaisuus voitaisiin turvata ja aluetta suojella, olisiko rajan ylittävä mereinen suojelualue hyödyllinen Haaparannan-Kemi-Tornion alueella? Olisiko suojelualue hyödyllinen ympäristölle, ja voisivatko alueen ihmiset hyötyä siitä? Tätä me selvitämme SeaCOMBO-hankkeessa, ja haluaisimme kuulla teidän mielipiteenne ja ajatuksenne. Vastaathan kyselyymme täällä!

This site uses cookies

This website uses cookies to give you the best, most relevant experience. If you agree to our use of cookies, please close this message and continue to use this site.
Read more aboute our cookie policy.