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Gulf of Maine Times

Vol. 2, No. 4

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Council Currents

US legislature appropriates $500,000 for GOM Council

Washington, DC - The long-awaited passage of the 1999 Omnibus Appropriation Bill by federal legislators in October resulted in a $500,000 line item appropriation for the Gulf of Maine Council.

New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg pushed for the funding, which he initially proposed at $2 million over 3 years, according to Gregg spokesman Kris Pickler. As former Governor of New Hampshire, Gregg was one of the original signatories to the cross-border agreement that formed the Gulf of Maine Council in 1989. The organization works to foster cross-border cooperation among Canadian and US government, academic, and private groups on implementing sustainable management strategies for the Gulf, which extends from Cape Cod to the Bay of Fundy.

"We've been working very closely with Senator Gregg and his staff, and I'm pleased that the review of the Council's efforts to date has resulted in the conclusion that this is an effort worth pursuing," said Council member Jeffrey Taylor, who is also Director of New Hampshire's Office of State Planning. "Bringing international partners together is clearly the way to do business when it comes to working on behalf of a sustainable Gulf of Maine. This funding will help us continue to do that effectively," Taylor said.

Council seeks nominations for first annual Art Longard award

Halifax, Nova Scotia - Nominations for the Gulf of Maine Council's first annual Art Longard Award will be accepted in early 1999. The award will be presented at the Council's June 1999 meeting in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to a volunteer who makes a special contribution to the Gulf of Maine.

The Council voted last year to create the award in memory of Art Longard, who passed away December 20, 1997 following a battle with cancer. He served as Nova Scotia's long-time representative on the Gulf of Maine Council's working group; was an employee of Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans; and was Director of Policy, Planning and Coastal Resources for the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries. He had a personal affinity for the sea as well, and was known as a passionate sailor.

For more information, contact the Gulf of Maine Council Secretariat.

Gulfwide cleanup nets tons of beach debris

Gulf of Maine - A total of 11,500 participants collected and tallied 76 tons/69 tonnes of beach debris from 373 miles/600 kilometers of coastline during a Gulfwide beach cleanup in honor of the International Year of the Ocean. Canadian cleanups took place during the summer, while US efforts occurred in the fall.

US participants in the Gulfwide event numbered 8,000 and Canadian participants numbered 3,500, according to Meinhard Doelle of the Clean Nova Scotia Foundation, a nonprofit environmental organization that has organized the Canadian Beach Sweeps throughout all of the Maritime provinces for nine consecutive years. Approximately 500 of the Canadian Gulf participants came from a single community environmental organization, Atlantic Coastal Action Program-Saint John, he said.

The composition of the waste "hasn't changed very much," said Doelle, except for two noteworthy differences along the Canadian coastline: the percentage of paper trash has dropped and the quantity of beverage containers found was cut in half.

Marine debris data collected during this year's Gulfwide coastal cleanup will support the Gulf of Maine Council's efforts to reduce marine debris, which can harm wildlife and people.

Workshop explores Gulfwide electronic communication

Boston, Massachusetts - A discussion of methods for enhancing electronic communication in the Gulf of Maine drew 65 participants to a workshop organized jointly by the Gulf of Maine Council and the Boston-based New England Aquarium.

Out of the Fog: Furthering the establishment of an electronic environmental information exchange system for the Gulf of Maine took place November 4-6 at the Aquarium and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Representatives of organizations working on Gulf of Maine issues addressed current Gulf of Maine information systems and integrated information systems. Participants also discussed funding options for projects that will be developed to improve electronic communications among scientists, teachers, resource managers, and others throughout the Gulf. Sessions included hands-on computer sessions.

Workshop organizers plan to form an action committee to address electronic communications issues, according to Maggie Mooney-Seus of the New England Aquarium.

The forum was funded by the Cabot Family Charitable Trust and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Other sponsors include the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Collaboration of Community Foundations for the Gulf of Maine, the Gulf of Maine Council, the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the Maine State Planning Office, Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management, MIT Sea Grant, and the Regional Association for Research on the Gulf of Maine.

Georges Bank Moratorium forum highlights Council meeting

Halifax, Nova Scotia - A forum on the Canadian moratorium on oil and gas development on Georges Bank was a major feature of the Council's semi-annual meeting in Halifax November 19 and 20. The forum focused on a discussion of transboundary environmental considerations related to petroleum development.

The Council also welcomed First Nations representatives who were making their initial visit to the table, and discussed formation of a committee to address the interaction of aquaculture and the environment. Other discussion topics included implementation of the Global Programme of Action Coalition and results of the Out of the Fog workshop, sponsored jointly with the New England Aquarium.