A Joint Statement of the Merikotka Core Research Network on the Coastal Strategy

The Ministry of the Environment requested statements from stakeholders on the new Finnish coastal strategy aimed at the year 2050. The Merikotka Core Research Network conducts interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research, particularly related to maritime logistics. The development of sustainable practices in maritime logistics has a particular importance to the entire coastal region and its well-being. Since the goal of our Merikotka Core Research Network is to increase knowledge and understanding and thereby support sustainable maritime logistics, we decided to provide a joint statement on the coastal strategy focusing on maritime logistics -related topics.

The process of formulating this joint statement began with translating the coastal strategy into English so that each researcher could review it independently and provide comments. Following this, we held a meeting where we discussed all the comments and ideas together. Finally, a joint statement was compiled from the suggestions and submitted to the public statement service. The statement is public and can be found on the website of the statement service.


Written by: Emilia Luoma

Doctoral dissertation on the environmental impacts of seabed mining

M.Sc. Laura Kaikkonen defended her doctoral dissertation in the field of environmental sciences at the University of Helsinki on October 29, 2021. The opponent was Professor Anna Metaxas from the Department of Oceanography at Dalhousie University in Canada. One of the supervisors of Kaikkonen’s doctoral thesis has been Professor Sakari Kuikka – a member of the Kotka Maritime Research Centre’s management group, from the University of Helsinki. The thesis work was conducted as part of a sub-project led by Professor Kuikka, in the Smartsea project funded by the Strategic Research Council of the Academy of Finland.

The thesis, titled as “Risks out of depth? A study on the environmental impacts of seabed mining“, consists of four scientific articles and a summary section. Environmental risks associated with seabed mining are assessed in a comprehensive manner, from the structuring of the problem and the synthesis of existing knowledge to the development of a probabilistic risk analysis model. The last article of the entity addresses the attitudes of people towards the state of the mostly invisible and inaccessible seabed environments, and the damage caused to them by mining.

Seabed mining is expected to address globally the growing demand for mineral resources, created by – among other things – the growing battery industry. This creates a call for improved knowledge base and effective methods to support the assessment of the environmental impacts of the ocean mining operations and the need for their regulation. Kaikkonen’s dissertation offers scientifically valid solutions, data and reflection on the topic.

”As ocean mining activities are still in exploratory stages, there are significant uncertainties regarding the exploitation of mineral resources and its environmental impacts,” Kaikkonen says and continues by telling unrestricted mineral extraction can have far-reaching effects on the functioning of the marine ecosystems, which must be clarified before commercial activity can be considered. “An improved appreciation of the risks associated with emerging maritime industries is essential to avoid uncontrolled development and to ensure good status and stewardship of the marine environment,” emphasizes Laura Kaikkonen.

The thesis summary can be downloaded from the University of Helsinki’s publication archive Helda.


Written by: Annukka Lehikoinen

Potential of Inland waterways is truly seen!

Finnish Waterway Association organised Winterdays 2020 – seminar in Lappeenranta on Wednesday 29 Jan 2020. The main theme of the seminar was focused on sustainable development and the role of inland waterways in this context. Experts of INFUTURE project were actively involved and several project related presentations were held. It was clearly seen that inland waterways are considered as a potential way of transportation. In the event, almost 90 participants was involved!

On Tuesday 28 Jan, INFUTURE project organised special Round Table discussion, which was targeted to clarify possibility to implement pilot travel to Russian inland waters. As a result, clear list of tasks related to needed conventions and permissions was received.

Material presented during the Round Table discussion could be downloaded here.