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Sea of Okhotsk
Lapko, V.V.; Radchenko, V.I. (2000). Sea of Okhotsk, in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 2. Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to The Pacific. pp. 463-472
In: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) (2000). Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 2. Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to The Pacific. Pergamon: Amsterdam. ISBN 0-08-043207-7. XXI, 920 pp., more

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Document type: Review


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  • Lapko, V.V.
  • Radchenko, V.I.

    The Sea of Okhotsk is a marginal sea in northeast Russia. It is almost entirely bordered by the Russian Federation, with its southern part bordered by Japan. Oimatic conditions, especially in the north, are the most severe of the far-eastern seas and are similar to those of arctic seas, as a result of the extensive continental coast with cold polar conditions, and strong prevailing winds. It has a general cyclonic current system with peculiar conditions of water exchange with the Pacific. Northward water transportation occurs in the east along the Kamchatka peninsula, with a southward transfer in the west. In winter the Sea of Okhotsk is mostly covered by ice, except for waters near Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands. In summer, surface water temperature reaches 11-13°C, and 18-19°C near Hokkaido. The region is very productive, and is exceptionally important for fisheries. Recent assessments suggest there are about 430 million tonnes (Mt) of plankton, 230 Mt of benthic biota, 35 Mt of fishes, 3.5 Mt of squids and 0.5 Mt of marine mammals. This region provides about 65-70% of the total Russian catch in the Far East. The main target species and groups include pollock, herring, pacific salmon, cod, flatfishes and crabs. To preserve these resources at high levels, it is necessary to keep commercial fisheries within sustainable catch limits. Currently, the region is relatively safe from effects of pollutants because of the relatively low population and low industrial activity. However the Okhotsk shelf contains oil. Mining operations have been started near northeastern Sakhalin Island, and the west Kamchatka shelf is the next area to be considered for prospecting. Oil extraction on the shelf causes inevitable dredging and oil pollution, and it is recognised that the prevention of serious accidents requires a high priority. There is no doubt that the Sea of Okhotsk will remain the primary fishery region in the Far East. The multispecies nature of the fisheries is providing stable catches of fishes and invertebrates, and it is anticipated that this will remain the case.

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