PORTLAND — They may not have the same dramatic impact as the gigantic oil spill that is devastating the Gulf of Mexico, but a combination of manmade and natural factors are combining to impose serious threats to the Gulf of Maine.
That was the take away message of a report issued last week by The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment on the 20th anniversary of its founding.
The international council coordinates the efforts of scientists and the governments of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to protect the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and promote the sustainable use of its resources.
“The Gulf of Maine has a reputation as a pristine ecosystem,” council Chairman Michael Walls said in a statement announcing the release of the report. “But beach closings, red tide events, loss of habitat, depletion of commercial fishing stocks and a number of other human-caused problems threaten both the economic and environmental vitality of the region.”
The council’s report isn’t light reading. Running several hundred pages in its current state, the report includes sections on climate change, fisheries and aquaculture, coastal development, toxic contaminants and microbial pathogens and toxins, eutrophication, aquatic habitats, biodiversity and emerging issues affecting the Gulf of Maine. There was particular emphasis on climate change and its impacts on both human activity and on the gulf’s ecosystem.
For more maritime news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.