A couple of kilometers north of Luleå along the coast lies the small town of Råneå with approximately 2000 inhabitants. This is where you find the bay of Råneå – Rånefjärden – one of the pilot study areas of SEAmBOTH.

Very still waters at a small harbour. There are 3 boats parked.
The harbour in Jämtön on the east side of Rånefjärden, an entrypoint to visit the bay (Photo by Linnea Bergdahl, County Administrative Board of Norrbotten)

On the west side of the bay the river of Råneå enters the sea and on the east side the river of Jämtön. The river of Råneå runs from inland for about 210 km through forest and agriculture landscapes until it reaches the bay. It is one of the few rivers in Sweden that is not regulated for hydroelectric purposes.  The river is particular important as spawning grounds for fish such as salmon, brown trout, grayling and lavaret.

Map of Rånefjärden. The red line indicates the border of the Natura 2000 area (Map Lantmäteriet, Sweden)

The bay itself is shallow with an average depth of 3 meters and several islands scattered around the area. Due to its calm waters and high abundance of vegetation the bay is an important place for fish, as nursing and feeding grounds for example.

Since 2005 the bay is protected as Natura 2000 area. Apart from plentiful of fish you can also find seals and several species of coastal birds feeding in the area. Rånefjärden also harbours populations of the Baltic water-plantain (Alisma wahlebergii), endemic to the Baltic Sea.

Baltic water-plantain (Alisma wahlenbergii) Photo by Anna Engdahl, County Administrative Board of Norrbotten

In the deeper parts of the bay you may find sheathed pondweed (Stuckenia vaginata). It is a beautiful tall plant, several of them growing together may look almost like a forest when viewed from underwater.

The tall sheathed pondweed (Stuckenia vaginata) stretches all the way from the bottom up to the surface (Photo by Anna Engdahl, County Administrative Board of Norrbotten)

Rånefjärden is well worth a visit at any time of the year. On a warm sunny day in the summer it’s nice taking a kayaking trip around the islands. In wintertime bring your skis as the whole bay will be frozen and you can ski across it. Ice fishing is another popular activity to do.

A snorkeler standing far away but still water is just up to his/hers angles.
The bay is perfect for a snorkel trip with its abundance of plants and fish to look at. But be prepared, it may be very shallow even far out from the shore! (Photo by Aimi Hamberg, County Administrative Board of Norrbotten).

Written by Linnea Bergdahl, County Administrative Board of Norrbotten


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