Surveying shipwrecks to reduce hazardous substances in the Baltic Sea

Shipwrecks are a source of marine pollution and may pose a threat to the health of seas as they deteriorate. The Baltic Sea floor in Estonia contains more than 400 shipwrecks, 28 of which pose a threat to the marine environment. Estonian Police and Border Guard is surveying potential environmental damages of shipwrecks to marine ecosystems in the Baltic Sea with a grant from the Baltic Sea Action Plan Fund.

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Controlled drainage helps reduce nutrient losses in the Baltic Sea

Eutrophication is one of the main threats to the Baltic Sea. The Swedish organisation Tullstorpsån Ekonomisk Förening is testing how to improve the retention of nutrients in fields with grants from the Baltic Sea Action Plan Fund.

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Key figures

The BSAP Fund has provided project grants since 2010

2 years

Grants can accelerate investments by up to 2 years during project implement


projects with demonstration effects completed by the end of 2022


less nutrient pollutants as a result of wastewater treatment modernisation

Improving the ecological wellbeing of the Baltic Sea

Small steps to greater impact

Although 97% of the Baltic Sea is currently still affected by eutrophication, the sea has experienced substantial environmental improvements thanks to various efforts done in the catchment area. The intensity of the spring blooms was reduced between 2000 and 2014 due to reductions in nutrient loading, and there has been a decrease in nitrogen concentrations in most of the Baltic Sea and an improvement in water clarity.

The Baltic Sea Action Plan was adopted by the HELCOM countries in 2007 to restore the ecological status of the Baltic marine environment. The plan was updated in 2021 and includes almost 200 actions focused on issues addressed in the original BSAP, such us biodiversity, eutrophication, hazardous substances, shipping and fisheries. It also includes new actions on marine litter, pharmaceuticals, underwater noise, and seabed disturbance.

About the BSAP Fund

The Baltic Sea Action Plan Fund (BSAP Fund) was set up in 2010 to help speed up the implementation of the Baltic Sea Action Plan. The key purpose of the BSAP Fund is to facilitate and speed up the preparation of bankable projects from both public and private entities. To date, these grants have accelerated investments by up to two years, speeding up the implementation of the projects and their environmental benefits for the Baltic Sea.

Since the establishment of the BSAP Fund, 47 projects with demonstrable effects have been completed. The projects are spread across the Baltic Sea region including Estonia, Finland, Russia*, Sweden, and Belarus*, as part of the Baltic Sea catchment area. Most of the financed projects involve nutrient recycling, manure management, small-scale sanitation plants, wastewater treatment, alternative fuels, or harbour facilities for wastewater management. Nefco only publishes information of the projects that have been signed with the project partners. Please view the list of signed projects under Related publications.

* As outlined by the Fund’s Steering Committee, Applicants, or projects where project partners are from Russia or Belarus were not eligible to apply for the grant in the latest call for project proposals of 2022.


Sweden and Finland initiated the BSAP Fund in 2010. The fund is co-managed by Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and Nefco.

Available financing and eligibility criteria

Selected proposals may receive grant financing from EUR 30,000 to EUR 200,000 subject to certain co-financing requirements.

Financing can be awarded to commercial or non-commercial partners for projects in the Baltic Sea Region and its catchment area for:

  • Demonstration purposes
  • Project development and preparation
  • Project implementation
  • Institutional support

Eligible project activities can include, but are not limited to:

  • Fighting eutrophication
    • Measures to reduce land-based nutrient inputs
    • Measures to improve nutrient recycling
    • Measures to manage internal nutrient reserves (in coastal areas) in line with the pre-cautionary principle and HELCOM’s Ministerial Declaration 2018
  • Measures to address pollution by hazardous substances
  • Measures to reduce marine litter
  • Projects and measures that address one or several areas highlighted in the  Baltic Sea Action Plan

Read the eligibility criteria or scroll down to Related publications to download it.

How to apply

The BSAP Fund can finance new initiatives and support activities that have been developed from previous application calls. The last call for applications for the BSAP Fund ended in February 2023.

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