On the west coast of Sweden, on the border to Norway, the first marine national park in Sweden is established. The marine environment here is influenced by the Atlantic and it includes habitats and species found nowhere else in Swedish waters.
This area, Kosterhavet, is also a valuable recreational resource - it is one of Sweden´s most visited tourist destinations - and has an important inshore fishery, mostly for prawns and Norwegian lobsters. Protecting and maintaining the natural and economic wealth of Kosterhavet is one of the great challenges in managing this new national park. The Kosterhavet National Park was inaugurated in September 2009.
Close to the bottom of the 200 meter deep Koster Fjord the high salinity (34-35‰) and the low temperature (5-7°C) seawater is more typical of the open ocean than of Swedish coastal waters. Sub-surface currents bring larvae of deep ocean species such as brachiopods, sponges and cold-water corals from the Atlantic continental slope. Of the 6000 marine species that have been identified in Kosterhavet, more than 200 are found nowhere else in Sweden.
The park is managed by a local board with representatives from local actors (politicians, fishermen, local communities and marine scientists). Day to day management include work with management plans, information and communication in a local exhibition, and overseeing rules and guiding tourists (in particular, during summer the area is a hot spot for leisure boat tourism.)