Bay of Biscay Facts

Bay of Biscay Facts
The Bay of Biscay is a gulf, located south of the Celtic Sea in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by France and Spain. The southern region of the Bay of Biscay is known as the Cantabrian Sea. The Bay of Biscay has an average depth of 5,722 feet. Its greatest depth reaches 15,535 feet. The Bay of Biscay is believed to be named (in English) after the western Basque districts of the northern Spanish coast. Many areas of the Bay of Biscay are fairly shallow due to the continental shelf extending far into its waters. The Bay of Biscay sees some of the harshest storms in the Atlantic, especially during the winter months.
Interesting Bay of Biscay Facts:
Other names for the Bay of Biscay include The Gulf of Biscaya (Asturian), Golfo de Vizcaya (Spanish), Golf de Gasconha (Gascon Occitan), Golfo de Biscaia (Galician), and Golfe de Gascogne (French).
The Bay of Biscay covers 86,000 square miles.
There are many main rivers that empty into the Bay of Biscay including the Loire, the Charente, the Garonne, the Adour, the Dordogne, the Nivelle, the Bidasoa, and many more.
Major cities along the Bay of Biscay include Aviles, Gijon, Santander, Bordeaux, Biarritz, Bilbao, La Rochelle, Nantes, Brest, and Donostia-San Sebastian.
The Southern region of the Bay of Biscay is also referred to as Mar Cantabrico (Cantabrian Sea).
There have been several famous naval engagements in the Bay of Biscay including the 1592 Battle of Biscay, the Biscay campaign of June 1795, and the 1943 Battle of the Bay of Biscay.
Many ships have sunk in the Bay of Biscay including the USS Californian in 1918, the SS Afrique in 1920, the U-667 in 1944 and the Soviet sub K-8 in 1970.
Many different species of whales and dolphins can be seen in the Bay of Biscay including beaked whales, minke whales, fin whales, harbor porpoises, short-beaked common dolphins, striped dolphins, long-finned pilot whales, sperm whales, and the northern bottlenose whale.
During World War 2 the German U-boat men often referred to the Bay of Biscay as the Valley of Death as more than 70 German subs were sunk in its waters by the Royal Air Force.
Threatened species in the Bay of Biscay include the blue whale, the northern right whale, and the harbor porpoise.
The island of Gaztelugatxe is located in the Bay of Biscay in Spain's region of the bay.
Threatened and declining shellfish or fish species located in the Bay of Biscay include European eel, gulper shark, long-snouted seahorse, sea lamprey, salmon, spurdog angel shark, and sturgeon.
Anchovies are a popular fish in the Bay of Biscay.
There are several species of seabirds located in the Bay of Biscay including the commonly seen gannet.
Scaleless dragonfish are native to the Bay of Biscay.
Prior to the 1950s, North American Right Whales, which are very endangered, fed and calved in the Bay of Biscay but whalers nearly wiped them out.
Because of the extreme weather in the winter in the Bay of Biscay here are abnormally high waves at times.


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