Marine Science Organizations

These organizations provide a venue for fishery scientists to collaborate, share research methodologies and approaches, and address new challenges impacting fisheries and living marine resources.

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)
ICES is the oldest oceanographic organization in the North Atlantic area and is the premier body for giving advice at the international level on scientific and policy matters relating to fisheries, pollution, and other marine environmental issues. ICES provides advice on pollution matters to the London, Oslo, and Helsinki Conventions for Marine Pollution and, on fisheries matters to the Convention for the Conservation of Salmon in the North Atlantic Ocean; the U.S. is a party to all of these conventions. ICES also has strong formal ties to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), to which the United States belongs, and the annual ICES meeting is the major forum for coordinating and planning the execution of ICES/IOC joint research on living marine resources in the North Atlantic.

The United States has been a member of ICES since 1912 and, in recent years, has strengthened its leadership role, particularly in the Advisory Committees on Marine Pollution and on Fisheries Management, in order to direct the organization's work towards issues and concerns of U.S. interest. U.S. representatives serve on all of the fourteen Advisory and Standing Committees which meet in concurrent session during the Annual Statutory Meeting to plan the work of ICES and to conduct its business.

International Oceanographic Commission (IOC) 
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO focuses on promoting marine scientific investigations and related ocean services, with a view to learning more about the nature and resources of the oceans. The IOC focuses on four major themes: (1) develop, promote and facilitate international oceanographic research programs to improve understanding of critical global and regional ocean processes and their relationship to the sustainable development and stewardship of ocean resources; (2) ensure effective planning, establishment and coordination of an operational global ocean observing system to provide the information needed for oceanic and atmospheric forecasting, for oceans and coastal zone management by coastal nations, and for global environmental change research; (3) provide international leadership for education and training program and technical assistance essential for systematic observations of the global ocean and its coastal zone and related research; and (4) ensure that ocean data and information obtained through research, observation and monitoring are efficiently handled and made widely available. The United States is supporting the Ocean Science in Relation to Living Resources (OSLR) program of the IOC, which includes support for the Global Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) and Small Pelagic Fishes and Climate Change ( SPACC) programs, Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs), Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB), the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), and the Living Marine Resources Module of the Global Ocean Observing System (LMR GOOS). The (GLOBEC) Science Plan has been finalized and an implementation plan is being developed.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
COFI is a major international forum established under the FAO Constitution for the regular examination by Member Nations of the state of world fisheries and their future prospects and the action which might be taken individually and collaboratively by developed and developing nations to promote fisheries development and management. COFI is advised by its Subcommittee on Fisheries Trade, its Subcommittee on Aquaculture and the FAO Advisory Committee on Fisheries Research (ACFR).

In recent years, FAO has adopted the international Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and international plans of action for the Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fishing; for the Conservation and Management of Sharks; for the Management of Fishing Capacity; and to Deter, Prevent and Eliminate Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fishing.

Large Marine Ecosystems (LME)
NOAA, in partnership and with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), UN agencies (United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, United Nations Environmental Program, United Nations Development Program, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission), the World Bank, and the IUCN-The World Conservation Union, is assisting numerous countries bordering several LMEs to develop programs for the sustainable, ecosystem-based management of their marine areas. These comprehensive programs will provide the information necessary for these countries to make decisions regarding the status and management of their marine resources. In some cases (e.g, the Guinea Current LME and Benguela Current LME), the countries bordering the LME have made inter-ministerial commitments to assess and manage their marine areas from an LME perspective.

North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) 
The primary role of PICES is to coordinate research efforts undertaken by the Parties and to facilitate the exchange of scientific and technical information on a broad range of scientific disciplines. The organization provides an international forum to promote greater understanding of the biological and oceanographic processes of the North Pacific Ocean and its role in global environment.