To advance ocean conservation through science. They conduct world class scientific research that increases knowledge about critical threats to oceans and their inhabitants, provides the foundation for smarter ocean policy, and establishes new frameworks for improved ocean conservation. The Institute's research focuses on advancing ecosystem-based fisheries management, a strategy which recognizes that the oceans' problems are interconnected and that species and habitats cannot be successfully managed in isolation; as well as on advancing knowledge about vulnerable and ecologically important marine animals that are understudied.
The ocean is one of the Earth's principal providers of ecological services. It creates more than half of our oxygen, provide foods for a billion people and constitute a vital source of protein, energy and minerals. However, the ocean is experiencing serious environmental challenges, many of which have unknown consequences. After all, activities causing serious harm to the marine environment such as ships carrying hazardous substances, offshore drilling, fishing with drift nets among other, could not be conceived. In that way, the initial concept of freedom of the high seas evolved and nowadays, it shall be understood in the context of the present range of marine activities and in relation to all the potentially conflicting uses and interests taking place in marine species. Therefore, the needs of navigation and other internationally lawful uses of the sea remain still important elements to be taken into consideration, but they have to be balanced with other interests, in particular those which have a more collective character, as they belong to the international community as a whole, such as the protection of the marine environment beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.