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Sea of Japan
Kachur, A.N.; Tkalin, A.V. (2000). Sea of Japan, in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 2. Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to The Pacific. pp. 473-486
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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  • Kachur, A.N.
  • Tkalin, A.V.

    The Sea of Japan is a semi-enclosed sea whose shores and islands are inhabited by more than 50 million people. The Russian section supports 1.6 million people, including 1.2 million in Primorsky Krai and 217,000 in Sakhalin Island. However, as a result of currents and airflows, another 60 million people living beyond the basin boundaries also affect its condition. Vegetation cover has been significantly reduced over the last 150 years. Water and wind erosion of soils is widespread and there is coastal erosion as well, such that more than half the arable land in this territory urgently needs erosion control measures. There is little control of pesticide levels, and pollution of surface and ground waters is widespread; all the rivers flowing into the Sea of Japan are polluted to varying degrees. Annual discharges of polluted waste waters per citizen are nearly 30% more than the Far East average due to inefficient wastewater treatment, though metal pollution of surface waters is not severe. Where agricultural production is developing, organic substances pollution is growing. In the northern region there are several local sources of significant pollution from ore-mining and chemical production, including large quantities of metals. A build-up of pollutants has made most marine species inedible. In the central region, pollution is continuous, especially where there are highly developed industries and agriculture. Practically no coastal waters can be used for recreation purposes. Water pollution in the southern region is sporadic and with careful selection marine species can be consumed. Radioactive pollution appears not to be an issue, despite accidents and the location of the Russian Pacific fleet base. In the last decade, bottom communities in the Peter the Great Gulf have begun to show visible changes due largely to increased volumes of waste waters. High calorie communities of poly- chaetes are being replaced with lower calorie communities of basket stars and bivalves, which affects the feeding of demersal fish. There is also a loss of seagrass, leading to a shrinkage of the spawning grounds of Pacific herring and to lower stability. From north to south there is a change in marine biota, from boreal to sub-tropical species. This area and its adjoining waters have numerous unique characteristics. A mild climate, warm sea, coastal landscapes, presence of many relict species, exotic features and ancient historical monu- ments, all make it attractive for tourists, especially towards the south where the summer season is longer. A system of protected natural areas makes up a framework for nature conservation activity , and together these now encompass an area covering many tens of thousands of hectares.

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