ICES statistical rectangles (StatRecs) have been in use since the 1970's, and were first officially referenced in CM document 1977/Gen:3 document 'ICES Statistical Rectangle Coding System'.
ICES statistical rectangles provide a grid covering the area between 36°N and 85°30'N and 44°W and 68°30'E.
Latitudinal rows, with intervals of 30', are numbered (two-digits) from 01 at the southern boundary (latitude 36°00'N) and increasing northwards to 99. The northern boundary of the statistical rectangle system is, thus, latitude 85°30'N.
Longitudinal columns, with intervals of 1°, are coded according to an alphanumeric system, beginning with A0 at the western boundary (longitude 44°00'W), continuing A1, A2, A3 to longitude 40°W (*see note 1 below). East of 40°W, the coding continues B0, B1, B2, ..., B9, C0, C1, C2, ..., C9, etc., using a different letter for each 10° block, to the eastern boundary of the area covered. Note that the letter I is omitted. Thus:
When designating an ICES rectangle, the northern coordinate is stated first. Thus, the rectangle of which the south-west corner is 54°00'N 03°00'E is designated 37F3.
Usually, it is necessary to specify an area with more precision than is possible with a statistical rectangle designation. Therefore, a sub-rectangle designation must be given (as a fifth character) by dividing a statistical rectangle into nine (10' latitude x 20' longitude) sub-divisions, as follows:
A location 58°12'N 10°33'E would lie within ICES rectangle/sub-division 45G05
* Note 1. Due to historical reasons, codes A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, and A9 are ommitted from the alphanumeric codes for longitude referencing. It is not planned to revise ICES Statistical rectangle coding approach, as this would affect historical data and publications.