These surveys are predominately aimed at improving knowledge of fish populations but also offer many opportunities to collect information on the marine ecosystem as a whole. As ICES provides broader ecosystem advice, the surveys should be adapted to meet advisory needs.
ICES coordinates many surveys of the marine environment across its area, carried out by its member countries. The international coordination ensures consistency of surveys across the region and develops new methods required for ICES work.
WGISUR's main aim is to develop and integrate these surveys to further inform the ecosystem approach and to add value to the existing surveys. Integration means both practically (using similar surveys to collect data) and in terms of data delivery and flow. This approach must address the current primary use of the surveys (fish abundance) and future advisory needs for environmental information (e.g. seabird or sea mammal abundance).