United Nations
Developing the science basis to support ecosystem based management
by The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) (Intergovernmental organization)
The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is a global organization that develops science and advice to support the sustainable use of the oceans. With 20 member countries around the North Atlantic, the ICES expert network includes more than 1,500 active participants annually, contributing to 160 working groups.

Through strategic partnerships our work also extends into the Arctic, the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, and the North Pacific Ocean.
ICES is committed to building a foundation of science around one key challenge: integrated ecosystem understanding of marine ecosystems.
ICES advances this through the coordination of oceanic and coastal monitoring and research, and advises international commissions and governments on marine policy and management issues. Our goal is to provide the best available science for decision-makers to make informed choices on the sustainable use of the marine environment and ecosystems.

Integrated ecosystem assessments (IEAs) have been or are being developed for the North Atlantic ecoregions. IEAs are making quantitative evaluations and synthesis of information on physical, chemical, ecological, and human processes that provide the scientific understanding to deliver advice on societal trade-offs between different policy options. Several working groups for the different North Atlantic ecoregions work to update the overviews regularly to provide the ecosystem context for any advice ICES is delivering.

ICES is developing fisheries overviews, which provide all background information on the different European fleets and their characteristics in terms of vessels and gears. In addition they contain information about the activities of the fleets and their impact on different ecosystem elements
Progress reports
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
Type of commitment
  • Science-based fisheries management plans
  • Ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF)
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Scientific, socioeconomic and interdisciplinary research
  • Scientific cooperation
Fisheries overviews for the North Atlantic
Integrated ecosystem overviews for North Atlantic ecoregions
Other, please specify
ICES member countries provide resources, data, and expertise for ICES deliverables
Staff / Technical expertise
The ICES Secretariat provides staff support and technical expertise to facilitate the ICES expert network
Basic information
Time-frame: 2016 June - 2017 December
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
Ocean Basins
  • Global
  • North Atlantic
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Anne Christine Brusendorff, General Secretary, info@ices.dk,
Copenhagen, Denmark
Other SDGs
United Nations