European Atlas of the Seas
The European Atlas of the Seas is an interactive electronic atlas on the coasts and seas within and around Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. The atlas is freely accessible on the internet and is available in English, French and German. It is provided by the European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

, Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, in the context of the implementation of the integrated maritime policy (Communication 'An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union', COM(2007) 575 final, 10/10/2007).

Other names: European atlas of the oceans, European coastal atlas, European maritime atlas, European marine atlas


The European Atlas of the Seas is intended for anyone interested in Europe's seas and coasts. It is developed to raise awareness and to share geographical information on the European coasts and seas, including on related human activities and relevant policies.


The European Atlas of the Seas presents maps on various topics related to the seas and coasts, to socio-economic specificities of the coasts, to marine and maritime sectors, to administration and management of the coasts and the seas. Specifically:
  • Nature of the seas and coasts: hydrography
    Hydrography is the measurement of the depths, the tides and currents of a body of water and establishment of the sea, river or lake bed topography and morphology. Normally and historically for the purpose of charting a body of water for the safe navigation of shipping...

    Bathymetry is the study of underwater depth of lake or ocean floors. In other words, bathymetry is the underwater equivalent to hypsometry. The name comes from Greek βαθύς , "deep", and μέτρον , "measure"...

    , sea level rise, wave height
    Wave height
    In fluid dynamics, the wave height of a surface wave is the difference between the elevations of a crest and a neighbouring trough. Wave height is a term used by mariners, as well as in coastal, ocean and naval engineering....

    , tidal
    Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the moon and the sun and the rotation of the Earth....

     amplitude, drainage basin
    Drainage basin
    A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

    s), geology (coastal geology and erosion), biology (chlorophyll
    Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in almost all plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. Its name is derived from the Greek words χλωρος, chloros and φύλλον, phyllon . Chlorophyll is an extremely important biomolecule, critical in photosynthesis, which allows plants to obtain energy from light...

     concentration), physics (sea surface temperature), meteorology (wind speed), chemistry …
  • Socio-economic specificities of the coasts: gross domestic product
    Gross domestic product
    Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

     (GDP), active population by sector, population density, demographic evolution, age characteristics…
  • Marine and maritime sectors: passenger and good transport, tourist capacity, fishery and aquaculture (catches, fleet, production, processing, consumption, employment, trade, etc.)…
  • Administration and management of the coasts and seas: international conventions on protection of the marine environment, European pollution response vessels, marine protected areas, coastal defence work, energy and transport infrastructure projects, fisheries quotas by Member States and species, allocation of European fisheries funds…

Most of the data displayed in the atlas has been collected from European Commission departments and European agencies. The information source and date appears in each map's description.

Geographical coverage

The European Atlas of the Seas covers the seas and oceans within and around Europe:
  • Arctic Ocean
    Arctic Ocean
    The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

  • Atlantic Ocean
    Atlantic Ocean
    The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

    , including the Celtic Seas, the Bay of Biscay
    Bay of Biscay
    The Bay of Biscay is a gulf of the northeast Atlantic Ocean located south of the Celtic Sea. It lies along the western coast of France from Brest south to the Spanish border, and the northern coast of Spain west to Cape Ortegal, and is named in English after the province of Biscay, in the Spanish...

     – Atlantic Iberian Coast
  • Baltic Sea
    Baltic Sea
    The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

  • Black Sea
    Black Sea
    The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

  • Mediterranean
  • North Sea
    North Sea
    In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

  • Outermost regions of the European Union
    European Union
    The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...


October 2007 Adoption of the integrated maritime policy for the European Union and its action plan, including the European Atlas of the Seas
January 2009 Beginning of the atlas development
May 2010 Release of the public beta version of the atlas
May–August 2010 Public consultation and user testing
April 2011 Release of version 1.0 of the atlas
Ongoing Regular improvements and updates
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