Theme Maps

Grid List

Bottom sampling (Photo: Norwegian Polar Institute)


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.

Genetic similar groups of Atlantic salmon. Source: CGF)


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).

Beaked redfish (Sebastes mentella)


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.

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.

Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)


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.

Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus rosmarus)


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.

Radionuclides, Cs-137 in bladderwrack. Source: NRPA

Radioactive contamination

In Northwest Russia there is a high concentration of potential sources of radioactive contamination to the environment. This includes both military and civil nuclear fleets, storage of radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel, legacy sites with dumped radioactive material, utilization of nuclear-powered submarines and nuclear power plants. Radionuclides originating from the global fallout caused by the atmospheric nuclear weapons tests run from 1945 to –1995 may still be detected in the area.

Bottom sediments (Photo: Mareano)


The surface sediments, i.e. the predominant sediment type of the upper ~ 50 cm of the seabed, form the uppermost part of a sediment sequence covering the rocks of the Barents Sea. This sediment sequence varying in thickness from a few to several hundred meters and was mainly deposited during the Quaternary (the last 2.6 million years), a time period where glaciations took place repeatedly.

Sea ice in the Barents Sea. Photo: Norwegian Polar Institute


The Historical Ice Chart Archive is hosted by Norwegian Polar Institute. In a deep dive into the huge amount of data, ACSYS published i 2002 historical sea-ice observations in the Arctic region between 30ºW and 70ºE in the form of digitized maps, stored as shape files. The earliest chart dates from 1553, and the most recent from December 2002. More recent charts are available electronically from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute ( Vessels sailing to the

Protcted areas in the Barents Sea area

Environmental management

The protected areas in Northwest Russia are divided into different categories of protection and management. In strict nature reserves (zapovednik) no economic activities are permitted. National parks are designated to nature conservation, research, educational and cultural purposes as well as controlled recreational activities. In national parks there are restrictions to the management of natural resources. Nature parks (prirodnyi park) are the equivalent of the Norwegian