The First Institute of Oceanography (FIO), State Oceanic Administration (SOA), China, the predecessor of the Fourth Marine Research Institute of the Chinese Navy, was first established in 1958. In 1964, the Institute was re-organized and its governing body was shifted from the Navy Department to SOA. FIO is a comprehensive research institute, it is engaged in both basic and applied research in oceanography and marine related science and technology, supports the development of high-tech industries, advances marine science and technology, and provides technical support and research services in the areas of marine resources management, national marine protection, public service, marine economic development and marine safety.

The major research fields of FIO are s on the regularities, distributions and variations of natural environmental elements in the maritime territory of China, the adjacent oceans and the polar region, such as marine resources development, environmental geology, the mechanism, establishment, and prevention of the marine disaster, the physiochemical and biological factors affecting marine ecosystems, remote sensing oceanography, marine information system management, appraisal, protection and governance of marine environment, development of marine high-tech, and comprehensive marine management.

In the past fifty years since its inauguration, FIO had been developing continuously and steadily into a famous marine research organization highly respected both domestically and internationally. FIO has about 300 senior level researchers, and is equipped with world-class equipments, laboratory testing instruments and other supporting apparatus. FIO had participated in different projects and ensured successfully fulfillment in variously, thematically, and nationally marine programs, such as National '973' programs, National '863' programs, National Science and Technology Supportive projects, programs sponsored by National Science Foundation, international cooperative projects, and marine development projects. Through all these work, FIO had received honorary by national (10), provincial and ministerial (106) level awards, such as over a hundred. The Scientific and technological advancement resulted form these research programs in significant force driving China's rapid development of marine science and marine economy in recent years. FIO has contributed insights to the development of marine scientific technology, ensuring the sustainable development of economy and society, safeguarding the nationally marine rights and interests of China.
Research Personnel and Staff Members
The Institute is composed of a total of 553 staff members including research personnel, administrative members and technical supporting staff.  Among the research personnel, there are three Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, one Foreign Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, 63 Senior Research Fellows and 111 Research Fellows. There are a total of 62 Guest Professors or Guest Research Fellows invited from domestic or foreign institutions. Nineteenth  members of the Senior Research Fellows are State Certified Ph.D. student supervisors. Among all research personnel, One hundred twenty-three members of them hold Ph.D. degrees, and 192 hold Master's degrees. The Institute is a state authorized educational institution for Postgraduate Studies with two Ph.D. programs, 5 Master's programs, and a Post-Doctoral programme open to Ph.D. degreed scientists in diverse scientific disciplines.