The Gulf of Maine has experienced fundamental changes over the last 40 years. The coastal region has seen dramatic declines in groundfish, an explosion of lobsters, loss of habitat for critical species such as alewives (and subsequent recovery), and the appearance of more southern species such as black sea bass.
Researchers at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute are undertaking a first-of-its-kind comprehensive survey of the near shore fisheries ecosystem around Casco Bay. Over a ten-year period, the Casco Bay Aquatic System Survey, or CBASS, will monitor and describe changes in this ecosystem, revealing potential linkages to changes in climate and ocean conditions, land use practices (e.g., fish passage) and other changes in the marine ecosystem (e.g., invasive species). This work will give us an unprecedented view of how a critical ecosystem functions and how it is changing – essential information for fisheries and coastal resource management.