Areas of Responsibility
As a government agency overseeing marine- and water-related issues, our responsibilities cover a broad range of areas. Many other national bodies are also involved in the same issues; we work collaboratively with these partners toward common goals.
Our closest partners include the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Swedish Board of Agriculture, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU).
Sweden's Environmental Objectives
It is in our country’s interest to hand over to the next generation a society in which our major environmental problems are solved. This 'generational goal' serves as a broad objective of Sweden's environmental policy and is meant to be achieved by 2020.
Under Sweden’s overarching generational goal are 16 environmental quality objectives describing the quality of environment we wish to achieve through our efforts. We are responsible for three of the country's 16 objectives:
- Zero Eutrophication
- Flourishing Lakes and Streams
- A Balanced Marine Environment, Flourishing Coastal Areas and Archipelagos.
The EPA takes on the coordinating role in all objectives including follow-up of efforts, dissemination of information, and the utilisation of socio-economic impact assessments.
Environmental Monitoring and Research
We are responsible for the environmental monitoring efforts of marine and freshwater bodies. We also commission the majority of studies done in this field such as collecting data on EU-regulated fish stocks. When needed, we lend our expertise to the EPA when it allocates its funding for environmental research.
The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) carries out the research and analysis for the studies we commission.
The EPA is responsible for issues relating to water contaminants.
Biodiversity and Alien Species
We oversee the aquatic biodiversity of Swedish waters as well as any alien species that are found in our waters. Our work in these two fields is partially based upon the agreement within the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity.
We are also responsible for the guidance concerning the territorial protection of waters.
The EPA oversees the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity within Sweden. Our work within biodiversity and alien species is partially based upon this convention.
Much of our work in is steered by regional and international conventions and agreements. We oversee Sweden’s work in protecting the two large and important bodies of water bordering us—the Baltic Sea via HELCOM and the North Sea via OSPAR.
Land-related activities within these conventions are the responsibility of the EPA which also drives national work concerning the Ramsar, Bern, and Bonn Conventions.
Regulations and the control of commercial fishing lies with SwAM.
The Swedish Board of Agriculture oversees the promotion of the fishing industry and provides structural support such as with commercial fisheries that seek support through the European Fisheries Fund.
We provide guidance for Sweden's county administrative boards and municipalities in a variety of water-related issues such as water conservation and private sewage.
Guidance for the supervision of municipal sewage treatment plants comes from the Swedish EPA which also has coordinating responsibility for Sweden’s Environmental Code.
The Swedish Board of Agriculture has sole responsibility for aquaculture both in terms of promotion and regulatory work.
Marine Spatial Planning
It is our responsibility to develop marine spatial planning for Sweden. Although primarily a national issue for each individual EU member state, the European Commission's Integrated Maritime Policy facilitates the work within coastal and marine areas. Through an ecosystem approach, marine spatial planning will provide guidance on how marine areas should be used for shipping, energy production, and other sectors of society while at the same time taking into account biodiversity and other environmental interests.