The Marine Environment Inquiry was appointed by the Government in 2006 to look into ways in which Swedish marine environment efforts can be improved nationally and together with other countries. The original terms of reference primarily involved knowledge-related issues. The Government's supplementary terms of reference extended the Inquiry's assignment to also include issues concerning the management and planning of Sweden's sea areas.
Despite a large number of initiatives and international agreements, the environmental situation of the seas surrounding Sweden is far from acceptable. Warning reports on algal blooms and oxygen-deficient sea-beds occur almost every summer. The status of fish stocks is worse than ever. The enormous volume of shipping in the Baltic Sea is accompanied by a considerable risk of a shipping accident with extensive oil discharges as a result.
The Inquiry considers that it is high time for a third-generation environmental policy. This third-generation environmental policy must entail a holistic approach and full integration of environmen-tal issues into all policy areas, stronger political leadership and, to a much greater extent, an international focus. With its long coastlines and large sea areas, it is in Sweden's interests to clearly pursue issues related to the Baltic Sea and Kattegat/Skagerrak environments.