History of Bothnian Bay National Park

Exhibition objects at a museum. There are numbers and letters engraved on the lid of a wooden barrel. Round wooden discs can be seen lying on top of the lid.

Fishing and hunting

Ever since the park's islands were formed, they have been used as seasonal bases by fishers and hunters. They moved to the islands for the duration of the fishing season, as the waters suitable for fishing were so far from the mainland. For instance, the fishing village at the southern tip of Selkä-Sarvi Island has probably been used in this way for seasonal fishing from the late 1500s. It is said that over 300 people inhabited the village during years of poor harvest.

During fishing season fishermen sometimes lived in the base camps for months at a time, without visiting the mainland. Salmon (Salmo salar) and Baltic herring (Clupea harengus membras) were the most common catches in the outer archipelago. The catch was salted and stored in wooden barrels. The nets the fishermen used were made out of organic materials and had to be dried each time they returned to the base.

At the beginning of the 20th Century motor boats became more common and fishermen could reach the archipelago daily from the mainland. The seasonal base camps were left deserted. Now fresh fish replaced the previously typical salted salmon and herring at market places.

Traditional landscapes 

The inhabitants of these fishing base camps also brought livestock with them. They grazed freely on the islands and thus created the traditional landscapes of pastures and dry meadows.

Traditional landscapes and an old building-style are still evident at the fishing bases on the islands of Selkäsarvi, Pensaskari and Iso-Huituri.


During the prohibition (1919-1932) the islands were used by smugglers as bases and places to hide their stash. Today ditches are visible where there once were alcohol cellars. The Pirtumatala reef was named during the prohibition when a German ship, the s/s Klara, carrying ‘pirtu', an illegal spirit, sunk there during a storm in 1924.

Ghost stories

According to word of mouth a ghost wandered around the island of Selkä-Sarvi. She was thought to have been a drowned wife of a fisherman. There are similar stories of ghosts from other islands in the area. They were not necessarily ill-spirited, although stories of them were told to scare local children. There is a story that a ghost woke a fisher, sleeping on an islet, just as his boat was about to be swept away by the rising tide.

Bothnian Bay National Park

  • Established 1991
  • Area 149 km²

The drawn emblem of Bothnian Bay national park. An arctic tern and the Siberian primrose is depicted inside the oval symbol. The text Perämeri - national park in Swedish and Finnish wraps around the outer edge of the emblem.

The Emblem of Bothnian Bay National Park is Arctic Tern and Primula Nutans var. jokelae