March 30 2020
Hundreds of grey seal pups are dying on the shores of the Baltic Sea in Estonia and Latvia as the Nordic coastline faced the first winter without ice in decades.
- Grey seals need ice – which helps them keep a distance from predators like wolves or foxes – in order to breed pups during the winter.
- Without it, they have been forced onto islets they would not normally inhabit, causing overcrowding, disrupting the breeding season and reducing the survival rate of newborns.
- Around 3,000 Seal pups are born on Baltic Sea Coast every year.
- Grey Seals are given the status of Least Concen by IUCN Red List.
- However,the delpeting ice and the consequent death of pups may force a change in their conservation status.
About Helsinki Convention:
- Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, 1992 (Helsinki Convention) is an international convention encompassing various measures for the prevention and elimination of pollution of the Baltic Sea.
- The first Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area was signed by Denmark, Finland, West Germany, East Germany, Poland, USSR and Sweden in 1974 and entered into force on 3 May 1980.
- A new convention was signed in 1992 by Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Estonia, the European Community, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Sweden.
- The Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area, 1992, entered into force on 17 January 2000.
- All parties pledge to take all actions to preserve the ecological balance of the Baltic Region.