Sea of Okhotsk

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Coordinates: 54°16′07″N 148°33′26″E / 54.26861°N 148.55722°E / 54.26861; 148.55722

The Sea of Okhotsk (Russian: Охо́тское мо́ре; English Transliteration: Okhotskoye More) is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean,[1] lying between the Kamchatka Peninsula on the east, the Kuril Islands on the southeast, the island of Hokkaidō to the far south, the island of Sakhalin along the west, and a long stretch of eastern Siberian coast (including the Shantar Islands) along the west and north. The northeast corner is Shelikhov Gulf. It is named after Okhotsk, the first Russian settlement in the Far East.



The Sea of Okhotsk covers 611,000 sq.mi. (1,583,000 km2), with a mean depth of 2,818 feet (859 metres). Its maximum depth is 11,063 feet (3,372 metres). It is connected to the Sea of Japan on either side of Sakhalin: on the west through the Sakhalin Gulf and the Gulf of Tartary; on the south, through the La Pérouse Strait.

In winter, navigation on the Sea of Okhotsk becomes difficult, or even impossible, due to the formation of large ice floes, because the large amount of freshwater from the Amur River lowers the salinity and raises the freezing point of the sea. The distribution and thickness of ice floes depends on many factors: the location, the time of year, water currents, and the sea temperatures.

With the exception of Hokkaidō, one of the Japanese home islands, the sea is surrounded on all sides by territory administered by the Russian Federation. For this reason, it is generally considered as being under Russian sovereignty.

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