The Barents Sea is on the continental shelf surrounding the Arctic Ocean. It connects with the Norwegian Sea to the west and the Arctic Ocean to the north. Its contours are delineated by the continental slope between Norway and Spitsbergen to the west, the top of the continental slope towards the Arctic Ocean to the north, Novaya Zemlya archipelago to the east, and the coasts of both Norway and Russia to the south (see Figure 2.1.1). It covers an area of approximately 1.4 million km2, has an average depth of 230 m, and a maximum depth of about 500m at the western end of Bear Island Trough (Figure 2.1.1). Its topography is characterized by troughs and basins (300 m – 500m deep), separated by shallow bank areas, with depths ranging from 100-200 m. The three largest banks are Central Bank, Great Bank and Spitsbergen Bank. Several troughs over 300 m deep run from central Barents Sea to the northern (e.g. Franz Victoria Trough) and western (e.g. Bear Island Trough) continental shelf break. These troughs allow the influx of Atlantic waters to the central Barents Sea.