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Vol. 3, No. 3

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Council Currents

News from the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment

GOMC examines role after a decade of work

Yarmouth, Nova Scotia --- At its semi-annual meeting in June, the Gulf of Maine Council discussed cultivating closer relationships with other groups as it enters its second decade of work. The Council also began planning events for its upcoming tenth anniversary.

In December 1989, the Canadian premiers and US governors of the five provinces and states bordering the Gulf of Maine signed an agreement pledging to work jointly to implement sustainable management of the Gulf's resources.

Commemoration of a decade of Canadian/US collaboration on behalf of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem will begin December 8-10 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at the Council's winter meeting. Celebrations will continue through 2000, which the Council has proclaimed "The Year of the Gulf." The Council plans to stage a summer event with the Gulf of Maine Institute Without Walls, an organization that electronically links students throughout the Gulf who are working on stewardship projects.

In search of ways to work more closely with the numerous non-governmental organizations undertaking countless projects to sustain or improve the Gulf ecosystem, the Council --- with help from the Integrated Coastal Planning Project at Dalhousie University and the Coastal Network of the Gulf of Maine (CNET) --- facilitated a June 10 forum titled, Sharing Information Among Neighbors.

The wide-ranging discussion covered the need to make environmental regulations and technical information understandable to the public; the necessity for quick action on environmental problems; and the importance of collaboration among diverse groups addressing similar issues.

"These kinds of cooperative approaches can address a common problem by working together, not by finding fault," asserted Steve Hawboldt of the Clean Annapolis River Project.

The Council also reaffirmed its role as a convener of groups working on behalf of the Gulf of Maine. "I think that the role the Council can best play is bringing you together," said New Hampshire Council Member Jeffrey Taylor.

CNET also helped the Council organize its first-annual Mini Fair, June 9-10, featuring about 30 exhibitors from the US and Canada, including environmental organizations, provincial, state, and federal agencies, and other groups.

At a June 10 reception, the Council announced Dana Wallace as the recipient of the first-annual Art Longard Award (see story on page 3).

The Council moved the Mini Fair, forum, and several other sessions originally scheduled to take place at the Rodd-Grand Hotel in Yarmouth to alternative locations due to a labor dispute at the hotel.

Following the meeting, New Hampshire assumed the Council Secretariat, hosted by Nova Scotia since last July. The Secretariat rotates annually among the Gulf's five jurisdictions.