Conservation of Ringed Seals 2024, Lake Saimaa, Finland

The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC) is the largest non-governmental organization for environmental protection and nature conservation in Finland. Its purpose is to protect the environment, promote nature conservation, preserve cultural heritage, and promote active citizenship and environmental awareness.

The Saimaa ringed seal is a sub species of the ringed seal and was isolated from the Baltic Sea in Lake Saimaa, Finland around 8,000 years ago. The population was reduced drastically by bounty hunting until the 1940s and again during the 1960s due to the use of fishing nets made from nylon. The endangered population is around 480 (2023 figure), and threatened by by-catch mortality caused by certain types of nets and traps used by recreational fishermen, narrowing habitat due to increased lakeshore building, and climate change causing challenges for the seals’ nesting in winters. POMOCA has been putting funding into this project since 2016, supporting the continuation of the work of FANC with recreational fishermen, tourism providers and local communities to ensure the survival and protection of the Saimaa ringed seal into the future.