Community Plans for Gulf of Maine 2050

Announcements | Dec 31, 2019

In November, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, along with the Gulf of Maine Council, the Huntsman Marine Science Centre, and a host of regional and international partners, invited leaders from across New England and the Maritime Provinces to convene in Portland, Maine for the Gulf of Maine 2050 International Symposium.

The Gulf of Maine appears as the background of this image, with the land appearing light blue and the waters darker blue with lighter blue topo lines throughout. Yellow text, centered in the middle, reads: "Gulf of Maine 2050 International Symposium".

The Gulf of Maine 2050 International Symposium brought together multiple science disciplines, natural resource managers, municipal planners, representatives from marine industries, community and business leaders, NGOs, and the philanthropic community. The workshop offered an unprecedented opportunity to synthesize a diverse mix of environmental, economic, social, and institutional perspectives on coastal climate resilience, and collaborate to act on emerging challenges and opportunities.

Communities around the Gulf of Maine are grappling with some of the fastest changes in temperature, acidity, and sea level of anywhere in the world. What does that mean for our ecosystem? What does it mean for us? That’s what this conference was all about.

Andrew Pershing, Ph.D. Chief Scientific Officer
Andrew Pershing, Ph.D. Chief Scientific Officer

The event kicked off with special keynotes to set the global and local context for the week. Plenaries on subsequent mornings featured scientific experts and practitioners to explore local implications of the next 30 years of warming waters, rising seas, and ocean acidification. The packed program also included climate adaptation presentations, collaborative workshops, and poster sessions.

In advance of the symposium, a team of experts developed drafted scientific scenario papers to increase our understanding about how the key drivers — warming waters, sea level rise and precipitation, ocean acidification — are expected to impact conditions in the Gulf of Maine over the next 30 years.

These scientific scenarios informed the interdisciplinary work at the symposium where we will explore how potential changes related to climate and other factors could impact the Gulf of Maine environmental, community, and economic sectors in the future.

Explore the papers:

After an inspiring and highly productive week focused on promoting a resilient Gulf of Maine, Rob Stephenson of Fisheries and Oceans Canada delivered closing remarks for the symposium, telling the audience, “We encourage all to build on the knowledge and ideas from this meeting to work together, show leadership, and take action in promoting solutions for the Gulf of Maine and beyond!”

As more people who care about the Gulf of Maine come to understand it as one of the fastest-warming ocean regions on the planet, one question persists: Why is the Gulf of Maine warming so rapidly?

Read Next