The Norwegian Sea is a sea that is located in the Arctic Ocean. The marginal sea is located on the northwestern side of Norway sandwiched by the Greenland Sea and the North Sea. The Norwegian Sea acts as a link between the northeast and the Barents Sea. Separating the Norwegian Sea from the Atlantic Ocean is a submarine ridge spanning all the way from Iceland to the Faroe Islands. The Jan Mayen Ridge acts as a separator between the Norwegian Sea and the Greenland Sea to the north. The sea has a great depth of only 1.24 miles since it is not part of any continental shelf.
The sea has been in existence for a long time since its formation some 250 million years ago. The formation of the sea started after Norway’s Eurasian plate and the North American Plate began pulling away from one another. Before the pulling apart, the border between Greenland and Norway stood at the Norwegian Sea’s current continental slope.
The shaping of the sea’s coasts happened during the last Ice Age. During that time, fjords were formed after massive glaciers pressed into the land. This movement of the glaciers also removed the sea’s crust thus increasing the continental slopes. This result is clearly visible from the Lofoten Islands and along the coast of Helgeland.
The sea acts as a transition area between two conditions, namely boreal and the Arctic. Consequently, the habitat has characteristics from both climatic conditions. The plankton life and the aquatic life of the sea is mostly located on the lower depths. Phytoplankton is a perfect example of such life and includes forms such as diatoms. These plants usually bloom in May. Zooplankton also occurs in the waters where they form part of the diet of most predators in the water.
In addition, the habitat of the sea is crucial to the reproduction of fish species such as herring that usually breed in the sea. The fish begin life at the sea after their eggs hatch in March and then migrate to the Barents Sea in the summer. Upon maturity, the fish come back to breed in the Norwegian Sea. Other fish species include cod, capelin, and blue whiting.
Birds and mammals also live in the lake including the likes of humpback whales, orca whales, minke whales, sei whales, and the white-beaked dolphin. Most of the orcas and other whales usually migrate to the sea in the summer to feed on the herring. Sei whales are the most common with their number standing at around 110,000. Some whale species, such as the bowhead whale, disappeared due to overfishing.
The lake has been utilized for fishing since historic times. One of the richest fishing sites is at the waters around the Lofoten Islands. In fact, this area is one of Europe’s richest fishing sites since most of the breeding by the Atlantic cod happens in the area. For this reason, dried cod was one of the main export products from Norway in the 19th century. In addition, the floor of the sea is rich in oil and gas, which have been in production since 1993.