Advancing an Ecosystem Approach in the Gulf of Maine

Tools for Integrated Policy and Management in the Gulf of Maine: A Summary of Major Advancements Since 1996

Maxine Westhead


Abstract.—This paper briefly summarizes some of the regional developments and advances in the theme “Tools for Integrated Policy and Management” that were presented at the October 2009 Gulf of Maine Science Symposium held in St. Andrews, New Brunswick. Tools for integrated policy and management meet a wide range of functions and originate from a variety of fields, from the physical and biological sciences to social sciences and organizational studies. Some of the tools presented at the 2009 Gulf of Maine symposium are discussed in this paper. Knowledge gaps still exist regarding impacts of development and industrial activities, which becomes apparent when trying to evaluate and quantify cumulative impacts. Geographic information system-based tools and elements of marine spatial planning such as human use mapping can help establish better cumulative impact assessments. While it is recognized that advances in integrated policy and management have occurred since the previous (1996) Gulf of Maine science symposium, evaluation of that progress is still in development. Tools such as state of the environment reporting, integrated assessments/ ecosystem overviews, frameworks for implementation of ecosystem-based management (EBM), or approaches developed by the EBM Tools Network all assist in measuring and evaluating our progress towards full implementation of an ecosystem approach within the context of management activities and actions.