Gulf of Riga, west coast

Year of compilation: 2000

Site description
A stretch of coastal waters within the Gulf of Riga, from Cape Kolka to the village of Lapmezciems, and extending offshore to 30 m depth. Bottom sediments are sandy with many shellfish, especially bivalves Macoma, while in deeper waters (>40 m depth) beyond the IBA the seabed has more gravel and mud. The site includes the sand beach (dominated by shingle and cobbles in places) and coastal meadows, although the latter constitute probably less than 5% of the total area.

Key biodiversity
The Gulf of Riga is internationally important for several waterbirds in winter, and for moulting Bucephala clangula after the breeding season. This part of the gulf holds 20,000 or more waterbirds on a regular basis.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
There are various threats to the area from pollution (`Other' threat, above), seabird mortality in fishing nets, and disturbance to birds by industrial/recreational marine traffic. Coastal-zone regulations protect the shoreline from development to some extent. A stretch of this coast, from Kaltene to Engure, has been proposed as a Baltic Sea Protection Area, and an area of c.134,000 ha (including part or all of the IBA) is included on the national `shadow list' of potential Ramsar Sites.

Protected areas
National None International None

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Gulf of Riga, west coast. Downloaded from on 20/09/2020.