This biotope map, covering the entire Barents Sea, has been compiled in collaboration between the Geological Survey of Norway, the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and the Russian Polar Research Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanography (PINRO) in the frame of the Norwegian-Russian Environmental Commission Workplan for 2011-2013 and 2013-2015.
During the last warming period (1998-2011) distinct trends in abundance of fish species from different zoogeographic groups were observed. Abundance of cold-water fish species (arctic, mainly arctic and arcto-boreal groups) decreased from 2000-2001 to 2010. But since 2011, slight increases in abundance of these groups have been observed.
Polar bears, seven pinniped species and five cetacean species reside full-time in the Barents Sea region. Eight additional whale species are regular seasonal migrants that come into the Barents Sea to take advantage of the seasonal, summer-time peak in productivity as the ice retreats northward.
Scientists, managers and commercial fishermen from Northern Norway, Finland and north-west Russia, White Sea area combined their efforts in the Kolarctic salmon project (2011-2013), with the aim of providing a better knowledge-base for the countries salmon management. Within this joint and unique effort bio-specimen were sampled along the North-Norwegian coast and in Russian Barents and White Seas generating the most comprehensive ecological and genetic datasets for Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar).
All known seabird colonies in the Barents Sea and White Sea have been registered in a joint Norwegian-Russian database. The database was produced by seven Russian institutions and the Norwegian Polar Institute and covers all known seabird colonies in the Barents Sea region.
Walruses in the Barents Sea region belong to the Atlantic subspecies Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus. Throughout their range this subspecies has been reduced in abundance via human hunting. Walruses are on the Norwegian Red list and are also listed in the Red Data Book of Russia.