INSPIRE Knowledge Base


International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
Mission and Objectives: 
ICES Mission To advance the scientific capacity to give advice on human activities affecting, and affected by, marine ecosystems. What is ICES? The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) coordinates and promotes marine research on oceanography, the marine environment, the marine ecosystem, and on living marine resources in the North Atlantic. Members of the ICES community now include all coastal states bordering the North Atlantic and the Baltic Sea, with affiliate members in the Mediterranean Sea and southern hemisphere. ICES is a network of more than 1600 scientists from 200 institutes linked by an intergovernmental agreement (the ICES Convention) to add value to national research efforts. Scientists working through ICES gather information about the marine ecosystem. Besides filling gaps in existing knowledge, this information is developed into unbiased, non-political advice. The 20 member countries that fund and support ICES use this advice to help them manage the North Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas. What does ICES do? Science ICES plans and coordinates marine research through its national delegates and through a large numbers of expert groups, symposia, and an Annual Science Conference. Most meetings take place at the ICES Headquarters in Copenhagen, Denmark or in the member countries. Advice ICES is the prime source of scientific advice on the marine ecosystem to governments and international regulatory bodies that manage the North Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas. Marine Data ICES maintains some of the world’s largest databases on marine fisheries, oceanography, and the marine environment, and its Data Centre is part of a global network of distributed data centres. Publication ICES publishes its scientific information and advice in reports, publications(including the ICES Journal of Marine Science), electronic media, and on the ICES website. The Secretariat ICES has been based in Copenhagen, Denmark, since 1902. Today its secretariat staff numbers 53, providing scientific, data handling, administrative, and secretarial support to the ICES community. ICES member countries The 20 member countries of ICES are: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States of America. Affiliate countries The affiliates are: Australia, Chile, Greece, Peru, and South Africa. Observers Science and advisory programme activities and meetings are open to observers from non-governmental organizations, after application for observer status has been approved by ICES.
Formal Mandate: 
ICES is an international organisation founded in 1902 and ratified by convention in 1964. The full text of the convention can be read here:
Data archiving and dissemination, data standards and protocols, science working groups, science advisory services to contracting parties, science symposia and conference, science publication, science network
Member countries are listed here:

Which role(s) do you foresee for the SDIC in INSPIRE development

  • submit reference material as input to the Drafting Teams
  • yes
  • allocate experts to Drafting Teams
  • yes
  • register a project to test/revise/develop the draft Implementing Rules
  • yes
  • be kept informed
  • yes
    Geographic Domain
    North-East Atlantic, Atlantic (open ocean), Baltic sea, North Sea, Bay of Biscay, Sea of Cortez
    Societal Sector
    Specific Expertise
    Previous Experience relevant for INSPIRE development
    Data work at ICES is increasingly linked to FP6/7 projects and their inherent link to INSPIRE. Working with SeaDataNet, EMODNET pilots. Acting as marine data centre for OSPAR, HELCOM and EEA. Advising on the development of WISE-Marine.