Gulf of Maine Council and Working Group Meetings, Portland, ME, 7-8 June 2017

The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment (GOMC) meeting was held in Portland, Maine, 7-8 June. Peter Wells, a long-time Council Working Group member and EIUI co-lead, attended to represent the EIUI Research Program (a long supporter of the Council’s work); the Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership (BoFEP), an NGO member of Council; and the GOMC Gulfwatch contaminants monitoring program.

Many issues and projects dealing with the Gulf of Maine were discussed by working group members. Amongst these were climate change (i.e., ocean acidification and rising surface water temperatures); coastal management; the state of several fisheries; the restoration of tidal crossings from the impacts of barriers such as culverts; offshore aquaculture; citizen science monitoring; protection of the deep sea biodiversity in the Gulf; seafloor mapping; and ecological impacts of noise pollution, marine debris, derelict vessels, plastics, contaminants in sediments, and others. All of these issues and projects are information intensive and dependent, and of direct concern to the federal, state, and provincial jurisdictions represented on the Council. Of note is the upcoming State of the Atlantic report, being prepared by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) for 2018.

Discussions were held with members of the Working Group from Canada, i.e., Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans, both long-term partner organizations with EIUI. These discussions covered potential new projects, e.g., the use and influence of outputs of the Ecosystem Indicator Program (ESIP) of the GOMC, and refunding the Gulfwatch contaminants monitoring program. There may be an opportunity for new funding under the recent Canadian Ocean Protection Plan, and specifically the Coastal Restoration Fund managed by DFO. Working with ESIP to help this program with new funding and a research study was considered especially urgent at this time.

As well, of special interest to the EIUI program, given its past work with and for the GOMC, is the initiative to retrieve the earlier print publications and reports from previous GOMC members, including important internal reports, and to be digitized and posted on the GOMC website. This initiative is being coordinated by the Maine State Planning Office and involves a local library in Maine. This project may result in EIUI receiving new references to include in an updated bibliography of GOMC publications, last revised in 2014 (Ross et al., 2014), as well as access to the materials themselves to augment the EIUI print copy collection of GOMC publications.

Finally, the flyer for EIUI’s new book (MacDonald et al., 2016) was distributed to all attendees at the meeting and invitations were also extended for the upcoming 12th BoFEP Bay of Fundy Science Workshop, to be held in Truro, NS, May 2018.

 

References

MacDonald, B. H., Soomai, S. S., De Santo, E. M., & Wells, P. G. (Eds.). (2016). Science, information, and policy interface for effective coastal and ocean management. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press / Taylor & Francis.

Ross, J. D., Hubbard, L. D., Cordes, R. E., MacDonald, B. H., & Wells, P. G. (2014). Celebrating 25 Years of Knowledge on the Gulf: A Bibliography of Publications of the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment. Halifax: Dalhousie University.

 

Author: Peter G. Wells

 

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