The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences is a Belgian federal scientific institute (> 450 staff), conducting fundamental scientific research and carrying out public service missions. It manages one of the largest scientific specimen collections in the world and is open to the public through the Museum of Natural Sciences (Brussels). The RBINS is a designated reference centre or focal point in many scientific and science policy fields. Its marine activities are concentrated in the Operational Directorate Natural Environment (OD Nature) and develop along four axes: 1) Data acquisition, Data banking and reporting, 2) Monitoring and surveillance of the marine environment, 3) Development of mathematical models to simulate marine processes, 4) Participation in the decision making process at national and international level. The most notable responsibilities of RBINS/OD Nature in the marine world include the coordination of the Belgian implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the management of the Belgian national research vessel RV Belgica and the execution of pollution control over the North Sea by means of its own aircraft.