ESSAS is guided by a Scientific Steering Committee and the science is conducted through ESSAS Working Groups, National Programmes, Multinational Programmes and Endorsed Programmes.
The intergovernmental scientific organizations of PICES in the Pacific and ICES in the Atlantic have been supportive of ESSAS activities including co-sponsoring with ESSAS symposia, theme sessions, and workshops. Both organizations have also funded some of their members to attend annual ESSAS meetings or activities.
The Research Council of Norway and the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen Norway shared the cost of operating an ESSAS Project Office in Bergen from 2008-2012. Presently administrative help is provided by the IMBER IPO in Bergen.