Science and research is the basis of our advice. We either conduct scientific groundwork, where we try to anticipate which topics will become relevant in the next years and intensify our activities there. Or we try to address fundamental ecological questions in relation to commercially explotied fish stocks, and mainly use our long data series to address these questions. Sometimes we conduct smaller projects directly commissioned by the governement, fishery or associations to address questions in the short term.
The second pillar of our work is providing advice. We utilise the results of our groundwork and our long-term data sets to develop different policy options. These recommendations are always science based, and we try to communicate the effects of specific decisions as well as the limitations of our advice transparently.
The third pillar of our work is the collection of long-term monitoring data series. These are the basis for our understanding of the functioning of ecosystems, und thus also for the sustainable use of theses ecosystems. Many of our monitoring data series are immediately used for assessing commercially important fish stocks. These assessments are conducted by scientists of Baltic Sea neighbouring countries under coordination of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). The timely collection and delivery of these data is required under international law, and the German Federal gouvernement has tasked us to fulfill this obligation. This requires significant funding and effort. We separate "fishery dependent" data (direct removals by commercial and recreational fisheries) and "fishery independent" data, usually collected from specialised research vessels during standard surveys.