ICES currently holds a contract with HELCOM for managing all "at sea" observations collected as part of the HELCOM's COMBINE programme.
Monitoring is a well established function of the Helsinki Convention. Monitoring of physical, chemical and biological variables of the open sea started in 1979, monitoring of radioactive substances in the Baltic Sea started in 1984. Until 1992 monitoring of coastal waters was considered as a national obligation and only assessment of such data had to be reported to the Commission. However, under the revised Helsinki Convention, 1992, it is also an obligation to conduct monitoring of the coastal waters and to report the data to the Commission. This programme will also cater for the needs of monitoring in the Baltic Sea Protected Areas (BSPA). The Environment Committee of HELCOM decided that, for management reasons, the different programmes should be integrated into a common structure and thus the Cooperative Monitoring in the Baltic Marine Environment - COMBINE - was instituted in 1992. Prior to this date, the programme was referred to as the Baltic Monitoring Programme (BMP). The prefix BMP is still widely used as an identifier of BMP station names.
This particular web site concerns itself only with the purely oceanographic (everything collected from a bottle or instrument) element of the COMBINE programme. See related biological and contaminant observations. Please also consult the HELCOM COMBINE web page.