The Gulf of Maine Regional Ocean Science Initiative

The Gulf of Maine Ecosystem

The Gulf of Maine (GOM) is one of the most productive and diverse ecosystems in the northeast . The GOM extends from the Canadian Provinces (New Brunswick and Nova Scotia) to southern Massachusetts and includes the Gulf of Maine, Bay of Fundy, Georges Bank, and Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays. The area is highly populated, especially along the coast where nearshore ecosystem indicators of water quality, coastal wetlands, sediment quality and near shore biota are in decline . Other stressors include overharvesting of fish and shellfish, increased nutrient and sediment loadings, increased development and associated changes, loss of natural habitats, harmful algal blooms, and increased introduction of invasive species. Many of these issues were identified as national priorities over a decade ago and remain as concerns today.

A number of programs within the Gulf of Maine are dedicated to its protection, preservation, conservation, and wise use of its resources as well as monitoring, managing data, and conducting research. These range from local watershed groups to broad-based governance and scientifically focused organizations and entities. A number of workshops, conferences, and symposia have focused on sustaining a healthy Gulf of Maine ecosystem and identified priority problems, recommended actions to address these problems, and identified research and monitoring with a goal of understanding how the ecosystem functions. Many reports are available electronically. Visit the Resources section for links to related documents and websites.