The group consists of scientific experts from five countries (Belgium, France, Ireland, the Russian Federation and the UK) who meet once a year.
The WG is responsible for the provision of updated fisheries data, assessments and draft advice for 40 demersal stocks across ICES subareas 6 and 7 (with the distribution of megrim extending into Division 4.a, sea bass into 4.b,c, anglerfish into Subarea 4 and Division 3.a and saithe into Subareas 8 to 10). The stocks covered include gadoid species (cod, haddock, whiting, saithe and pollack), flatfish (sole, plaice and megrim), norway lobster, sea bass and anglerfish.
For most stocks, fully analytical assessments can be performed, and the stock status evaluated against reference points to provide advice based on the MSY approach. For the other stocks, the ICES framework for Data Limited Stocks is applied to provide precautionary advice on future fishing opportunities.