2008 Annual Report
Gulf of Maine Research Institute
Deepening Our Impact: Community

In early 2009, GMRI collaborated with the Penobscot East Resource Center, the Maine Department of Marine Resources, Maine Sea Grant, and the University of Maine to convene a workshop entitled "Exploring Fine Scale Ecology for Groundfish in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank."

The groundfish fishery that was once the mainstay of many coastal communities around the Gulf of Maine remains vastly diminished. Some have called for a re-evaluation of the geographic scale at which we manage fisheries. For example, should commercial groundfish species like cod be managed as only two stocks in New England (Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank) or should we be considering alternatives, including finer-scale management for multiple sub-stocks within each region?

The Fine Scale Ecology workshop brought together oceanographers, biologists, social scientists, fishermen, and resource managers to share the research on groundfish migration, abundance, and habitat use in the Gulf of Maine and explore future research priorities.

The day's discussion led to at least one strong message: management should be tailored to the appropriate ecological scale, but this might require management of multiple scales, not just a finer scale. Our current management system misses a medium and finer scale, but we also need to maintain a picture of the whole system. We should not move to a system that manages many smaller boxes at a smaller scale, but rather should incorporate the approaches of alternate scale to promote ecological and financial sustainability. Any shifts in management will require stewardship effective management and enforcement mechanisms, as well as an understanding of the socio-economic impacts associated with those shifts.

Read the Workshop Report (pdf)

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