The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

2016 Edition
| Editors: Igor S. Zonn, Andrey G. Kostianoy, Aleksandr V. Semenov

Fish of the East Siberian Sea

Reference work entry

Fish of the East Siberian Sea – the ESS, located inside the Arctic Circle; it is one of the most inhospitable Arctic Seas, as it is almost not influenced by warm ocean waters. The fauna is not rich and consists of the arctic forms, among which a large portion of highly arctic species. Marine life forms are of euryhaline character, i.e., can withstand wide variations in the degree of salinity of the seawater, and are concentrated mainly in the northern and northeastern regions. Closer to the mainland, the life forms become more brackish and near the mouths of rivers – freshwater. Phytoplankton of the sea is dominated by blue-green algae and diatoms. In zooplankton there are mostly ciliates, rotifers, copepods, and chaetognaths – “sea arrows.” In some periods tunicates and pteropods can appear. The bottom fauna is characterized by an abundance of shell-bearing rhizopods – foraminifers. In the soil there are also many polychaetes, crustacean amphipods, and isopods. Among them the most numerous are Portland Arctic mollusks; echinoderms are widely represented by highly arctic species of brittle stars and sea stars. The sea is inhabited by marine, migratory, and semi-migratory fish. The most common are Siberian whitefish (caught on the Islands of Kotelny, Bolshoy, and Maly Lyakhovskiy); char, trout, cisco, muksun, white salmon, and rainbow smelt (migrates near the New Siberian Islands every 5 years); whitefish (near the Islands of Kotelny and Bolshoy Lyakhovskiy); capelin; cod; herrings; and some bottom fish. In the coastal zone at the mouths of rivers flowing into the sea, there are valuable fish of the salmon, whitefish (on the New Siberian Islands only occasional, sporadic migrations of this fish are observed) and sturgeon families, which come here from rivers and do not migrate far to the north.

There is no information about sharks inhabiting these waters. It is quite possible to assume that here, there is a frequenter of the Arctic waters – sleeper shark (Somniosus). This fish reaches a length of 6 m and almost never appears on the surface of the sea, preferring to stay in the middle layers of the water. By their diet sleeper sharks are versatile. It can eat microorganisms, tiddlers, and animal remains. It never attacks an active prey as it is an extremely slow predator, as, indeed, most of the Arctic sea giants.

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016