We explored the trends in ln-transformed catch per unit effort, defined as average weight (kg) per 1 h trawling, and the spatial distribution of 32 demersal fish species in the Kattegat and Skagerrak using International Bottom Trawl Survey data collected between 1981 and 2003. As in other areas, the biomass of roundfish species such as cod, pollack, hake, and ling drastically decreased during this period most likely owing to fishing pressure. However, other commercially important fish species, e.g. haddock, whiting, and some flatfish, showed a constant or increasing trend during the same period. Non-commercial species showed no or an increasing trend in ln-cpue, by as much as 40 times in hagfish. Furthermore, analyses of the spatial distribution of 14 selected fish species by means of distribution maps of ln-cpue suggested that fish stocks contracted and expanded in response to decrease and increase of the stock biomass, respectively, with some flatfish species (i.e. plaice and flounder) and hagfish representing the exceptions to this general pattern.