The Sound is located between Sweden and Denmark, and forms, together with Little Belt and Great Belt, a connection between the brackish Baltic Sea and the saltier North Sea via Kattegat and Skagerrak. In 1932, a bottom trawling ban was established in the Sound because of heavy traffic in the narrow strait. The ban, which is still in effect, is one of the main reasons why a number of rare and diverse benthic communities are found in the area today. Spatial protection in the Sound is limited to scattered, small, mostly coastal areas, including Natura 2000 sites; the northern part, which in particular has many unique habitats, remains mostly unprotected. Human activities, including dredging, land reclamation, and pollution, continue to threaten marine life in the area.
Effective protection of the area could best be achieved by establishing a single transboundary marine protected area (MPA) across the entire Sound. This large MPA would encompass the existing smaller protected areas and the currently unprotected areas, all under one management plan. Critically, its successful establishment, management, and enforcement would require joint efforts from Denmark and Sweden.Download the Report