Covering nearly half of the Earth's surface, the high seas provide a diverse range of ecosystem services crucial to human well-being and the health of both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. At the same time, the vastness of the high seas and the limitations of corresponding governance instruments present a considerable challenge to policy-makers working to promote sustainable management. This report reviews new developments in sustainable management of the oceans, including the high seas, which has often focused primarily on fishing regulations, while lacking broader consideration of marine ecosystem services and material cycles. In addition, an overview is provided of paradigms for assessing and managing marine systems. Enhanced interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral communication based on clear definitions is needed to achieve deeper understanding of marine ecosystems and the services they provide. Experts discussed these and other issues on October 1, 2013 within the context of an international symposium held at the University of Tokyo on the "Future Management of Ocean Ecosystem Services". This manuscript provides a brief overview of these discussions together with supplementary background material.