Ecosystem overviews

Celtic Seas ecoregion description

​​The Celtic Seas ecoregion covers the northwestern shelf seas of the EU. It includes areas of the deeper eastern Atlantic Ocean and coastal seas that are heavily influenced by oceanic inputs.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The ecoregion ranges from north of Shetland to Brittany in the south. Three key areas constitute this ecoregion: 

  • the Malin shelf
  • the Celtic Sea and west of Ireland
  • the Irish Sea

The Celtic Seas ecoregion includes all or parts of the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of three EU Member States.

Fisheries in the Celtic Seas are managed through the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), with fisheries of some stocks managed by the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) and by coastal state agreements. Responsibility for salmon fisheries 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 Western Waters and Pelagic ACs. 

Environmental policy is managed by national governments and agencies and by OSPAR; advice is provided by national agencies, OSPAR, the European Environment Agency (EEA), and ICES. 

International shipping is managed under the International Maritime Organization (IMO).​

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​The Celtic Seas ecoregion, showing EEZs, larger offshore Natura 2000 sites, and operational and authorized wind farms.​ Click image to enlarge.


Catchment area for the Celtic Seas ecoregion, showing major cities, ports, and ICES areas.​ Click image to enlarge.
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Celtic Seas ecoregion description

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) · Conseil International pour l'Exploration de la Mer (CIEM)
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