It is a temperate coastal shelf sea with a deep channel in the northwest, a permanently thermally mixed water column in the south and east, and seasonal stratification in the north.
Fisheries management in the Greater North Sea ecoregion is conducted in accordance with the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), by Norway, and by coastal state agreements. Managerial responsibility for salmon is taken by the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) and for large pelagic fish by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). Collective fisheries advice is provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the European Commission’s Scientific Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), and the North Sea and Pelagic ACs.
Environmental policy is managed by national governments and agencies and OSPAR, with advice being provided by national agencies, OSPAR, the European Environment Agency (EEA), and ICES. International shipping is managed under the International Maritime Organization (IMO).