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Location Finland, Länsi-Suomen lääni
Central coordinates 21o 5.00' East  63o 20.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B1ii, B1iv, B2, B3, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 223,652 ha
Altitude
Year of IBA assessment 2000

BirdLife SUOMI-FINLAND



Site description A large archipelago encompassing many hundreds (perhaps thousands) of islands at the boundary of the Bothnian Sea and the Bay of Bothnia. The smaller islands are treeless and rocky, the middle-sized ones hold deciduous trees, whilst the largest support mixed and coniferous forests, numerous fladas, lagoons, island lakes, and pools. The site includes extensive areas of open water, which are mainly shallow, stony and biologically productive. Fishing is extensive in many parts of the area and recreational developments are increasing.

Key Biodiversity Probably the most important area for island-breeding birds in Finland. The area supports the largest staging populations of many species in the country. An important bottleneck site for migrating Buteo lagopus (1,000-5,000 birds per season).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Osprey Pandion haliaetus breeding  1996  15 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus passage  1996  101-500 individuals  B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Melanitta fusca breeding  1996  3,600 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Not Recognised 
Melanitta fusca passage  1996  10,001-100,000 individuals  poor  A4i, B1i, C3  Not Recognised 
Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis passage  1996  10,001-100,000 individuals  poor  A4i, B1i, C3  Vulnerable 
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator breeding  1996  1,300 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator passage  1996  5,001-10,000 individuals  medium  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Goosander Mergus merganser breeding  1996  900 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Goosander Mergus merganser passage  1996  5,001-10,000 individuals  medium  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus breeding  1996  650 breeding pairs  good  B1i, B2, C3  Least Concern 
Mew Gull Larus canus breeding  1996  7,000 breeding pairs  good  B1i, B2, C3  Least Concern 
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus breeding  1996  200 breeding pairs  good  B3  Least Concern 
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus breeding  1996  920 breeding pairs  good  B1i, B3, C3  Least Concern 
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia breeding  1996  60 breeding pairs  good  B1i, B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea breeding  1996  14,000 breeding pairs  good  B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Razorbill Alca torda breeding  1996  1,400 breeding pairs  good  B1ii, B3, C3  Least Concern 
Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle breeding  1996  6,500 breeding pairs  good  B1ii, B2  Least Concern 
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio breeding  1996  101-500 breeding pairs  poor  B2, C6  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  1996  100,000-499,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii, C4   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  1996  50,000-99,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii, C4   
A4iv Species group - soaring birds/cranes passage  1996  5,000 individuals  B1iv   

IBA Monitoring

2010 medium very unfavourable low
  Population
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Climate change and severe weather storms and floods happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Melanitta fusca 3600 1300 breeding pairs 37 very unfavourable
Mergus serrator Red-breasted Merganser 1300 1200 breeding pairs 93 favourable
Tringa totanus Common Redshank 650 200 breeding pairs 31 very unfavourable
Larus canus Mew Gull 11000 11000 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Larus marinus Great Black-backed Gull 200 180 breeding pairs 90 near favourable
Larus fuscus Lesser Black-backed Gull 1100 1100 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Hydroprogne caspia Caspian Tern 60 60 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Sterna paradisaea Arctic Tern 14000 8000 breeding pairs 58 unfavourable
Alca torda Razorbill 3300 3300 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Cepphus grylle Black Guillemot 6500 6700 breeding pairs 100 favourable

Most of site (50-90%) covered (including the most critical parts for important bird species)  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Merenkurkku archipelago Baltic Sea Protected Area (Helcom) 127,360 protected area overlaps with site 118,802  
Merenkurkun saaristo - FI0800130 Birds Directive 128,162 protected area overlaps with site 118,772  
Quark Archipelago Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 63,699 protected area contained by site 16,730  
Valassaarten luonnonsuojelualue Private Nature Reserve 11,790 protected area contained by site 14,860  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   5%
Sea Open Sea; Sea inlets and coastal features  85%
Unknown   10%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
unknown -

Protection status National Low International Partial14,860 ha of IBA covered by Private Protection Area (Valassaaret, 14,860 ha). 17,700 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (Valassaaret and Björkögrunden, 17,700 ha). 128, 162 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Merenkurkun saaristo).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Merenkurkku archipelago. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 25/12/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife