1. The SOA is responsible for drafting basic marine laws, regulations and policies concerning China's coastal zone, islands, internal sea, neighboring sea, contiguous zone, continental shelf, exclusive economic zone and other sea areas under China's national jurisdiction. It is also responsible for organizing to develop marine functional zoning scheme, marine scientific and technical plan, and the strategy of "science for ocean prosperity". It carries out the management of national marine basic data and the statistics on marine economy and social development.
2. The SOA is responsible for supervision and management of sea area uses (including coastal zone), issuing the permits for sea area uses, implementation of the system of paid use of sea area and management of laying submarine cables and pipelines according to regulations, and undertaking and organizing the sea area boundary delimitation at provincial level.
3. The SOA is responsible for organizing to draft plans, standards and criteria for marine environmental protection, preparing the criteria on pollutant discharge into the sea and building up the system of control of aggregates. In accordance with the national standards, the SOA supervises land-based pollutant discharge into the sea; takes charge of protecting the environment from marine oil exploration and development, ocean dumping and possible pollution from ocean engineering projects; manages marine environmental survey, monitoring, surveillance, assessment; and supervises the protection for marine biodiversity and marine ecosystems, and the management of marine nature reserves and special reserves. It also examines and approves the reports on environment impact of the projects of new construction, reconstruction, and extension of coastal and marine engineering.
4. The SOA supervises and manages, in accordance with laws and regulations, marine scientific surveys and research activities involving foreign countries or nationals. It is responsible for marine installations construction projects involving foreign countries or nationals, submarine engineering projects, and other development activities. It also organizes to study the policies and measurements for safeguarding national maritime rights and interests, study to propose the suggestions and countermeasures on the sea area delimitation with neighboring countries and the islands disputed in their ownerships. It is responsible for safeguarding the rights and interests of China's resources in the open sea and the international seabed area as well as organizing and fulfilling relative international marine conventions and treaties. It also carries out the organization of cooperation and exchange with other countries of the world.
5. The SOA manages the "China Marine Surveillance" force, which carries out routine coastal surveillance, management and supervision according to the laws and regulations, investigates and prosecutes illegal activities.
6. The SOA organizes marine basic and comprehensive survey, makes efforts to promote significant scientific research on high and new technologies. It is responsible for the management of such public marine service systems as marine monitoring and surveillance, hazard forecasting and early warning, comprehensive information, and calibration of standards and criteria. It conducts the marine hazard forecasting and warning and the sea-state forecasting (excluding weather forecasting and warning) as well as manages the work on polar and ocean expedition.
7. SOA undertakes other tasks entrusted by the State Council and Ministry of Land and Resources, P.R.C..