The Gulf of Maine Regional Ocean Science Initiative

Past, Current, and Proposed Regional Research Efforts

In 1992, a Gulf of Maine Regional Marine Research Program (GOM-RMRP) was established with the goals of developing a Regional Research Marine Plan that coordinated research and monitoring efforts and fostered collaboration between scientists and managers. A ten-year plan identified development of a "suite of models that simulate how the Gulf of Maine works" as a goal and funded research that were primarily based on physical oceanography, harmful algal blooms, chemistry, and productivity. A small amount of funding was dedicated to data management and development of an ecosystem model. Although the program was based on a ten-year strategic plan, funding was terminated after five years making it difficult to assess the program on its scientific merits as it only partially accomplished its proposed ten-year strategic plan. Since then, efforts have continued to advance understanding and collaboration on model development, harmful algal blooms, data acquisition and management, and monitoring efforts. However, available funding for regional research is insufficient for coordinating a comprehensive scientific program that integrates continued support to address society's concerns and provide tools to decision-makers to address the ongoing pressure on coastal ecosystems.

The proposed approach of the Regional Ocean Science Council is to conduct a "bottoms-up" process for identifying management goals for the Gulf of Maine (GOM) to serve as the foundation for developing a GOM Regional Ocean Science Plan (ROSP). Social, economic, and environmental goals will be identified by stakeholders that represent a broad, diverse group and include the many existing organizations and agencies with interest and responsibilities in managing activities in the Gulf of Maine. In addition, a comprehensive summary of previous management and scientific recommendations will be prepared and incorporated into the final selection of top-priority, integrated, ecosystem-level management issues. The ROSP will focus on identifying the science and technologies needed to address the issues through workshops and scientific recommendations from proceedings of conferences, workshops, and symposia.