Climate Change Fisheries & Aquaculture Coastal Development Aquatic Habitats Eutrophication Contaminants Biodiversity Emerging Issues
Welcome to the State of the Gulf of Maine

The Gulf of Maine is a dynamic, changing ecosystem. Bordered by the northeastern United States and the Canadian Maritime Provinces, the Gulf of Maine is one of the largest semi-enclosed coastal seas in North America. It is recognized as one of the world’s richest marine ecosystems with various marine and estuarine habitats, such as salt marshes, seagrass beds, tidal mud flats, underwater rocky outcrops, and kelp beds.

Over 10 million people live in the Gulf of Maine watershed. Along its western and northern shores lie the cities and towns of coastal Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. The Gulf has supported a long tradition of fishing, marine transportation, coastal development, and recreation, and continues to be a valuable resource for the people who live and work in the region.

Welcome Message, Mike Walls, Chairman, Gulf of Maine Council

The State of the Gulf of Maine Report is a modular, living document made up of a context document and a series of theme or issue papers.

  • The context document, The Gulf of the Maine in Context (.pdf), provides an introduction to the natural and socio-economic environment of the Gulf of Maine. It provides an overview of the Gulf of Maine, particularly for those readers who are not familiar with the region.
  • The theme papers provide a more in-depth look at important issues within the Gulf, based on priority areas identified by the Council. They will be developed incrementally during 2010 and 2011 and after that will be regularly updated at time intervals appropriate to each issue. The structure of the papers follows the driving forces-pressure-state-impacts-response (DPSIR) framework.


Climate Change

Fisheries and Aquaculture

  • Aquaculture in the Gulf of Maine
  • Commercial Fisheries and Fish Stock Status

Coastal Development

  • Land Use and Coastal Development



  • Eutrophication

Aquatic Habitats


Emerging Issues

Vision for the Future

"Building on its past accomplishments, the Council intends to continue supporting region-wide information gathering and sharing (e.g., seafloor mapping, environmental monitoring, science translation to management, indicators, state-of-the-environment reporting), public outreach and education, habitat restoration, and addressing key science and policy gaps. The Council will continue to foster innovative approaches to sharing information and enhancing collaboration. By working together in a regional forum, the states, provinces, and federal agencies learn from each other, try new approaches, and coordinate their efforts. As a result, they become better stewards of the resources for which they are responsible."

Source: Action Plan 2007-2012

We hope the State of the Gulf reports provide useful information for your endeavours in the Gulf of Maine, and we look forward to your feedback.

Cape Split

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Gulf of Maine Times

Partenariat des indicateurs de l'ecosystemeEcosystem Indicator Partnership

The State of the Gulf Report is made possible by the following:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada Environment Canada
Department of Interior/US Geological Survey Maine State Planning Office
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Environmental Protection Agency
Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture