Maine symposium to address how climate change will impact Gulf of Maine

Hundreds of scientists, conservationists, and government officials have gathered in Portland, Maine for the Gulf of Maine 2050 International Symposium in order to discuss how climate change will impact the region.

The Gulf of Maine is one of the fastest warming areas of the ocean, with projections indicating it is warming faster than 99 percent of the ocean. Those changes, in addition to sea-level rise, are some of the reasons why officials and scientists from multiple organization gathered in Portland for the symposium.

The conference is being hosted by the Gulf of Maine Council, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada.

“Preparing for 2050 is a major challenge, but it is one that we won’t face alone,” Theresa Torrent of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Maine Coastal Program, and the state’s coordinator on the international Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment, told the Portland Press Herald. “The purpose of Gulf of Maine 2050 is to activate the talents of people around the Gulf of Maine and build a safe and productive future.”

Climate change has already had affects on multiple fisheries in the Gulf of Maine. In November 2018, the state of Maine’s shrimp fishery was closed for three more years, after already being closed for five years, with environmental changes being partially to blame.

The state’s cod fishery, as well, has reached incredibly low catch and has become a “choke species” for fishermen. Historical catches of more than 18 million pounds have been replaced by a catch that’s a fraction of that: The catch in 2018 was just under 80,000 pounds.

Speakers at the symposium include Maine’s Governor Janet Mills; the vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Ko Barret; and more. Attendees, according to the symposium’s website, are intended to have a diverse background in order to bring a range of perspectives to the event.

“Together we will learn how the Gulf of Maine is expected to change in the next 30 years, build a shared vision for regional resilience, and activate new collaborations for action,” the website states.

Photo courtesy of the Gulf of Maine 2050 International Symposium


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