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Marine Places

Sea of Okhotsk

A subarctic shelf sea, the Sea of Okhotsk is a branch of the northwestern Pacific. It is enclosed to the north by the Asian landmass, bounded to the east by the Kurile Islands, and linked in the south to the Sea of Japan/East Sea by two narrow straits. Navigation of the sea is restricted by sea ice in the winter, when ice formation on ship hulls also presents a danger to shipping. The southern part of the sea is notorious for its sea fogs throughout the year. The Sea of Okhotsk is very productive, accounting for nearly 70 percent of Russia’s East Asian fish catch. It is home to several endangered species of marine life, including Kurile harbor seals and gray whales. The Okhotsk Plate includes the continental crust of the Kamchatka Peninsula, with its string of volcanoes, and the islands of Sakhalin and Hokkaido. In much of the area, the sea floor is quite shallow, but it is deeper in the Kurile Basin, where the ocean crust has stretched and thinned.

  • Area 600,000 square miles (1.6 million square km)
  • Maximum Depth 11,063 ft (3,372 m)
  • Inflows Sea of Japan/East Sea; Amur, Uda, Okhota, Penzhina rivers