Advancing an Ecosystem Approach in the Gulf of Maine

Anthropogenic and External Influences on the Gulf of Maine: Workshop Summary

Madeleine Hall-Arber, Judith Pederson, and Peter Wells


Abstract .—The goal of this session was to provide a synthesis of the major pressures being exerted on the Gulf of Maine (GOM), including the Bay of Fundy, that constrain the achievement of ecosystem objectives or the desired state of valued attributes (ecological, social/cultural, and economic). The GOM boasts a diverse ecosystem, much changed ecologically over the past 400 years and long the subject of intense scrutiny by a host of universities, marine labs, and research centers in both the United States and Canada. While the presentations in the session noted that this ecosystem must cope with stressors that range from climate change to pharmaceuticals and nutrient loading to overfishing, the presentations also presented an historical perspective with lessons for resiliency, including successes of finer-scale and spatial management as well as collaborations in research and communication. It was recognized that a concerted effort to raise environmental literacy amongst the gulf ’s residents is essential to ensure that the full value of its ecosystems and resources is recognized and protected for future generations.