The meiobenthos was sampled at 119 localities along 1,500 km of Svalbard shores in the summers 1988-1993. The principal taxa were determined from 5-cm-long sediment cores collected during low tide on soft sediment shores. The density ranged from 0 to > 10,000 ind/10 cm². Nematoda was the most common and abundant taxon. Nematoda and Turbellaria, along with Oligochaeta and Harpacticoida, were typical and the most frequent set of taxa. The occurrence of meiofaunal taxa was weakly correlated with geographical area; the local habitat characteristics were decisive. The most abundant meiobenthos, with mean abundance > 900 ind/10 cm² and the biomass about 0.34 g dry wt per 1 m², was found on the western coast of South Spitsbergen.