Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment – Highlights of the June 2018 Annual Meeting

The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment (GOMC), a USA-Canada inter-governmental body, has a mandate for overseeing the environmental management of the Gulf of Maine, including the Bay of Fundy. It has been operating since 1989, sponsoring many relevant coastal projects, conferences, and workshops. GOMC is composed of representatives of three American states (MA, NH, ME) and two Canadian provinces (NB, NS), as well as federal and state/provincial environmental agencies and departments.

The Council and its Working Group (WG) met for two days in June at NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) headquarters, located in Gloucester, MA. This annual meeting was chaired by New Brunswick, one of the five jurisdictions of the Council. As a member of the WG since 2000, I attended and participated in the meeting, representing the Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership (BoFEP), the GOMC-Gulfwatch contaminants monitoring program, and EIUI (Dalhousie University).

The detailed agenda and briefing notes can be found on the GOMC website. Highlights of the meeting include:

The annual GOMC Awards were also presented, with two winners of Visionary Awards being from New Brunswick community-related coastal work on the Bay of Fundy (Maria Rechia), and Nancy Aiken for the defense of marine science (the Save/Support Ocean Science group).

A proposal for a Gulf of Maine 2050 Symposium (Portland, ME, 4-9 November 2019) was also discussed. The theme of this symposium will be climate change and “emerging climate challenges and opportunities.” Research groups from around the Gulf of Maine will be able to present their work and especially address the question: “What are the most important management actions items and research priorities?” Hence, this symposium will present another opportunity for the EIUI program to highlight its research results relevant to the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy, building on many years of collaboration (see publications from the EIUI program listed below).

The GOMC Annual Meeting for 2019 moves to Nova Scotia. This meeting offers another opportunity to demonstrate the use, usefulness, and overall influence of the Council’s work on marine environmental conservation and protection issues, hence a bright future for continued collaboration between our two groups.


Chamberlain, S. D., Wells, P. G., & MacDonald, B. H. (2018). The Gulfwatch contaminants monitoring program in the Gulf of Maine: Are its data being used for ocean protection, with special reference to Nova Scotia, Canada? Marine Pollution Bulletin, 127, 781–787.

Cossarini, D. M., MacDonald, B. H, & Wells, P. G. (2014). Communicating marine environmental information to decision makers: Enablers and barriers to use of publications (grey literature) of the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment. Ocean & Coastal Management, 96, 163-172.

Cordes, R. E., MacDonald, B. H., & Wells, P. G. (2006). Publications of the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment and their use. Halifax: Dalhousie University. Retrieved from

MacDonald, B. H., Cordes, R. E., & Wells, P. G. (2007). Assessing the diffusion and impact of grey literature published by international intergovernmental scientific groups: The case of the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment. Publishing Research Quarterly, 23, 30–46.

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. Retrieved from

Soomai, S. S., MacDonald, B. H., & Wells, P. G. (2013). Communicating environmental information to the stakeholders in coastal and marine policy-making: Case studies from Nova Scotia and the Gulf of Maine/Bay of Fundy region. Marine Policy, 40,176-186.


Author: Peter G. Wells


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