The Regional Association for Research on the Gulf of Maine (RARGOM) Annual Science Meeting was held on 13 October 2016 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The theme of this meeting was “Science for sustaining the Gulf of Maine’s ecosystems and coastal communities.” Peter Wells attended and presented two EIUI posters: one illustrated the key messages and contents of our recent book Science, Information, and Policy Interface for Effective Coastal and Ocean Management, and a second presented a summary of recent results of research conducted by members of the EIUI team. Both posters generated considerable interest. Peter fielded questions and distributed copies of the flyer for the book.
The papers given during the day-long meeting covered a wide range of marine scientific studies being conducted around the Gulf of Maine, including research on physical oceanography, biodiversity, species and habitat ecology, key fisheries and management issues, and climate change vulnerability, adaptation and economic impacts. The importance of community conservation research networks was emphasized by the keynote speaker, Anthony (Tony) Charles, from Saint Mary’s University, Halifax. He drew out the principles underlying successful community based marine management, all of which are information based. Collectively, the presentations illustrated the wide diversity of the regional research capacity, and the rich and growing knowledge base on the Gulf of Maine
The concluding talk of the meeting by Rob Stephenson of the St. Andrews Biological Station, St. Andrews, New Brunswick, on the four “pillars” of sustainable development (environment, economy, social, institutional) was especially interesting and relevant to the EIUI research program. He pointed out that one challenge regarding the oceans is to identify linkages between the pillars and the many connecting processes among ocean sustainability, governance and management, including information flow and effective communication at the science-policy interface. It was suggested that the theme of the next major Gulf of Maine Symposium, usually held every five years or so, should be on this topic, offering a further opportunity for collaboration with the EIUI research team.
As well, Peter met with three core members of the Ecosystem Indicators Partnership (ESIP) program of the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment. (GOMC) The objective of this meeting was to initiate discussion on ways to collaborate on research that would evaluate the use and influence of the many ESIP information products, e.g., fact sheets, the web-based mapping tool kit, and new Apps. Such collaboration with ESIP and its partners looks very promising and represents the next logical step in EIUI’s fruitful collaboration over many years with the GOMC.
The RARGOM Annual Science Meeting offers many opportunities for information exchange and the renewal of personal connections across the Gulf of Maine region. This meeting augments EIUI’s continued regional studies on the use and influence of marine environmental and fisheries information, and the science-policy interface(s) in ocean management.
Author: Peter G. Wells