Ifremer (the French Research Institute for Marine Studies) is a public body of industrial and commercial nature, the only French organisation with an entirely maritime purpose. It has an annual budget of approximately 150 Million €, employs about 1385 people (researchers, engineers, sailors, technicians and administrative staff), runs 72 laboratories or research departments, located in 24 stations or centres along the mainland coast and in the French Overseas Territories, operates 7 research vessels, 2 manned submersibles (Cyana and Nautile), one 6000-metre ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle), as well as testing facilities. Being involved in all the marine science and technology fields, Ifremer has the capability of solving different problems with an integrated approach, in four main areas: i) understanding, assessing, developing and managing the ocean resources, including exploration of the deep sea; understanding ocean circulation (in relation with the global change) ; sustainable management of fishery resources and development of aquacultural production; ii) improving knowledge, protection and restoration methods for marine environment, including: modelling of coastal zones and ecosystems, behaviour of pollutants, observation and monitoring of the sea; iii) production and management of equipment of national interest, and most particularly heavy equipment for oceanography (oceanographic vessels, underwater vehicles and equipment, etc); iv) helping the socio-economic development of the maritime world. Ifremer has a long record in the development of underwater technology and sea-bottom observatories.