The Russian coast is washed by 12 seas and the Caspian sea-lake. The west coast of Kamchatka and of Kuril islands goes directly to the Pacific Ocean.
The total area of the territorial waters and exclusive economic zone of Russia is about 7 million square kilometers.
The area of the continental shelf under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation is about 5 million square kilometers, which represents about one fifth of the area of the World Ocean shelf.
The Far Eastern marine reserve is the only nature reserve in Russia, founded in 1978 year as an exclusive marine protected area (MPA). In addition to it the marine nature is protected in 8 nature reserves, 2 refuges of the Far East and 2 Arctic reserves, 2 reserves and a refuge of Barents and White Seas and 2 nature reserves in the Caspian sea.
The seas of Russia have several unique features:
Now the nature of the Russian seas is under the intense human impact. The Black and the Caspian seas affected particularly. During the last decades their ecosystems are almost entirely changed under the influence of human and natural factors.
The main factors that represent the greatest threat to marine life:
There are the practical ways to mitigate and prevent threats to human influence. Here are some of them:
Radical reform of the fisheries. The development of sustainable fisheries, which does not deplete marine bioresources.
Creating of a national network of marine protected areas (nature reserves, fishery protected zones, refuges and parks).
Conducting a strategic environmental assessment of oil and gas on the shelf before these projects start.
Seas of Russia are located in different natural regions, where marine life is influenced by different local conditions.
The seas along the Siberian coast - Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, East-Siberian Sea and Chuckchee Sea – experience major influenceof the great Siberian rivers.
The warm streams of North-Atlantic and North-Pacific sea currents meet with cold arctic waters in Barents and Bering Seas. These areas represent great diversity of nature formations and high ecosystem productivity.
The White Sea is special in a way that it goes far into the continent and gets closed covered with seasonal ice. White Sea is habitat for both arctic and temperate waters species.
The Sea of Okhotsk is remarkable for even greater diversity. It is home for such isolated populations asGreenland (ice) whale.
The Gulf of Peter the Great in the Sea of Japan is the northern boundary for spread subtropical marine fauna.
The ecosystems of the Black Sea are very similar to waters of the Mediterranean sea.