Indicators are quantitative or qualitative measures that provide information about the status of or changes in natural, cultural, and economic aspects of an ecosystem.
The Gulf of Maine regional indicators and reporting initiative is guided by the following objectives:
Although decision-makers receive information from multiple sources, the Gulf of Maine indicators and reporting program will uniquely convey linkages between science, management, and ecosystem goals at a regional scale and elucidate connections between ecosystem conditions and human needs. This initiative will begin with modest short-term goals and gradually extend the scope of its effort to expand 1) the depth and breadth of management-relevant issues that are covered, 2) the level of integration across specific management issues, 3) the spatial scale of focus, and 4) the audience that is reached through products of this program. It will rely heavily on partnerships with existing government agencies, environmental organizations, community groups, business and trade groups, academic institutions, and other programs operating within the region and at national and international scales.
Decision-makers in the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy region will possess the necessary information to preserve ecological integrity and to sustain economically and socially healthy human communities. Regional ecosystem indicators, developed in a manner that is guided by science and supported by routine monitoring, demonstrate patterns of change in the ecosystem. By presenting and interpreting these indicators in biennial state of the environment reports, information will be communicated in a manner that decision-makers at all societal levels can use to shape their priorities and guide their choices. The gulf-wide insights provided through indicators and state of the environment reports will integrate across multiple jurisdictional boundaries that exist within the Gulf ecosystem and will complement other information used by decision-makers. By creating links among science, management, ecosystem, and community goals at both regional and local levels, this information will help decision-makers understand the larger implications of their choices.
The core principles established for the gulf-wide indicators and reporting program ensure the production of a high-quality product that is relevant for its users and is developed through a transparent, science-based process that engages a wide group of partners.