WGBIE consists of scientific experts from the Advisory Committee (ACOM) from 5 countries (France, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and the UK) who meet once a year. The main task of the group is to carry out stock assessments and catch forecasts as well as to provide scientific analysis which serve as a basis for management advice and related topics delivered by ACOM.
Depending on stock biological characteristics and knowledge and on data availability, there are several methods used for such assessments and projections. These include analytical assessments using age-structured or age-length structured models and surplus-production model (without age or length structure). For stocks with limited data availability, no analytical assessments are provided and the state of the stocks is inferred from examination of commercial LPUE or CPUE data as well as from survey information.
The stocks assessed within WGBIE are distributed over a large area of the Northeast Atlantic shelf from ICES Division IIIa to IXa. There are currently 24 stocks in WGBIEs remit:
These stocks are exploited by a large variety of fleets and gears, including bottom-water and midwater trawl, nets, and long lines.