WKSHARK6 was established to address a joint Special Request from OSPAR and NEAFC. This was the first such joint request from these organisations. The group focussed on four main areas:
Produce maps showing the main distributions of deep-water sharks in the Northeast At-lantic
Provide an overview of surveys that provide data on deep-water sharks in the Northeast Atlantic
Summarise which fishing fleets caught these sharks
Summarise the ICES advice for these stocks
Countries were asked to provide data from 20 years of surveys through an ICES data call. Some went further and provided historical data going back up to 60 years. These data have been in-cluded for the relevant species. Records of distribution have been produced for 22 species of deep water shark, ray and chimaera. Individual species-maps focus on the key areas of Ice-land/Greenland, the Norwegian Sea and the Celtic/Iberian ecoregion, depending on the distri-bution of each species. As well as being published in this report, the group has made all the shapefiles used to create the distribution maps available as supporting documentation online. The data provided show the main hotspots for these species, illustrating the main sea basin areas where they occur and do not occur. Their dependency on rather narrow depth contours is also apparent. While they are widely distributed they are confined to relatively narrow depth inter-vals on the continental slopes and offshore plateaux. The survey data available is patchy and mainly confined to areas near the continent and areas easily sampled by bottom trawl. As such the distribution maps do not give the whole picture of the distribution of these species, and some important areas of distribution have not been surveyed or the surveys were not available. How-ever, this is the first time that so many European survey-series have been analysed for these vulnerable species. This report highlights the advice applicable to these species, the degree of susceptibility they have to bycatch, and most especially underlines the importance of the NEAFC Regulatory Area for these species.