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International efforts to protect marine biodiversity through marine wilderness preservation in the Northwest Atlantic (New England). (Marine Matters).


Currently, marine diversity on the continental shelf in the Gulf of Maine The Gulf of Maine is a large gulf of the Atlantic Ocean on the northeastern coast of North America.

It is delineated by Cape Cod at the eastern tip of Massachusetts in the southwest and Cape Sable at the southern tip of Nova Scotia in the northeast.
 has minimal protection from commercial activities. Last year, numerous environmental organizations, scientists, and other concerned citizens proposed a 20 by 178 nautical-mile marine protected area Marine Protected Area (MPA) is often used as an umbrella term covering a wide range of marine areas with some level of restriction to protect living, non-living, cultural, and/or historic resources. A commonly used definition is the one developed by the World Conservation Union.  in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank Georges Bank

Submerged sandbank in the Atlantic Ocean east of Massachusetts, U.S. It has long been an important fishing ground, with scallops harvested in its northeastern portion. Navigation is made dangerous by crosscurrents and fog.
 ("Gulf of Maine") along the United States-Canadian international boundary (the "Hague line") to protect marine diversity. The marine protected area, the Gulf of Maine International Ocean Wilderness ("International Ocean Wilderness"), would straddle In the stock and commodity markets, a strategy in options contracts consisting of an equal number of put options and call options on the same underlying share, index, or commodity future.  the Hague line -- ten miles on each side -- as it passes through the Gulf of Maine. The International Ocean Wilderness would include large portions of the five major habitat types that are representative of the Gulf of Maine and protect these areas from extractive extractive /ex·trac·tive/ (-tiv) any substance present in an organized tissue, or in a mixture in a small quantity, and requiring extraction by a special method.

 fishing and non-fishing industrial activities. If designated, the International Ocean Wilderness would comprise only 6.2% of the total area in the Gulf of Maine, leaving most of it open to existing industrial activities. The International Ocean Wilderness would serve four principal functions: (1) preserving marine diversity; (2) preserving large areas of the five major habitat types; (3) protecting cultural and historical artifacts artifacts

see specimen artifacts.
; and (4) providing control areas for future benthic ben·thos  
1. The collection of organisms living on or in sea or lake bottoms.

2. The bottom of a sea or lake.

 ecological study. The International Ocean Wilderness would also provide the following incidental benefits: (1) enhancing important benthic fisheries, notably the scallop scallop or pecten, marine bivalve mollusk. Like its close relative the oyster, the scallop has no siphons, the mantle being completely open, but it differs from other mollusks in that both mantle edges have a row of steely blue "eyes" and  fishery, by leaving a subpopulation sub·pop·u·la·tion  
A part or subdivision of a population, especially one originating from some other population: microbial subpopulations.

Noun 1.
 to grow to advanced adult ages at which egg production is much greater than by adults at average time of harvest in the present fishery; (2) protecting sensitive essential fish habitats from the effects of bottom-tending mobile gears; (3) providing a precautionary buffer from the effects of overfishing Overfishing occurs when fishing activities reduce fish stocks below an acceptable level. This can occur in any body of water from a pond to the oceans. More precise biological and bioeconomic terms define 'acceptable level'. ; and (4) providing a buffer zone buffer zone
A neutral area between hostile or belligerent forces that serves to prevent conflict.

Noun 1. buffer zone
 along the Hague line to facilitate enforcement of this international boundary.


In 2000, numerous regional and national environmental organizations, scientists, and other concerned citizens petitioned the Clinton Administration Noun 1. Clinton administration - the executive under President Clinton
executive - persons who administer the law
 in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  and the Canadian Prime Minister to designate an international, cross-shelf ocean wilderness area Broadly, a wilderness area is a region where the land is left in a state where human modifications are minimal; that is, as a wilderness. It might also be called a wild or natural area. (Very low or immaterial human impact or "footprint.  in the Gulf of Maine to protect marine diversity. The proposed ocean wilderness area, the Gulf of Maine International Ocean Wilderness Area (GOMIOW), would start approximately 20 nautical miles from the northeasternmost point on the Maine coast and extend 178 nautical miles along the political boundary separating the US and Canadian Exclusive Economic Zones ("the Hague Line"), across the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank, and out to the continental abyssal plain abyssal plain: see ocean.
abyssal plain

Flat seafloor area at a depth of 10,000–20,000 ft (3,000–6,000 m), generally adjacent to a continent. The larger plains are hundreds of miles wide and thousands of miles long.
 to depths greater than 4,000 meters. As a cross-shelf marine wilderness area, the GOMIOW would encompass representative portions of the five major habitat types found in the Gulf of Maine, including: (1) shallow-water glacial ridges; (2) deep-water basins within the Gulf of Maine; (3) shallow-water gravel and sand habitats on Georges Bank; (4) deep-sea canyons off Georges Bank; and (5) the continental abyssal plain.

The proponents claimed that the GOMIOW would serve three principal functions: (1) preserving marine diversity; (2) preserving large areas of the five major habitat types in the Gulf of Maine; and (3) providing control areas for future benthic ecological study. The GOMIOW would also provide the following incidental benefits: (1) enhancing important benthic fisheries, notably the scallop fishery, by leaving a subpopulation to grow to advanced adult ages that produce more eggs than adults in the present fishery; (2) protecting sensitive essential fish habitats (EFH EFH Einfamilienhaus
EFH Essential Fish Habitat
EFH Engine Flight Hours
EFH Equivalent Flight Hours (military aviation training) 
) from the effects of bottom-tending mobile gears; (3) acting as a precautionary buffer against the effects of fishing and other commercial activities; and (4) providing a buffer zone along the Hague line to facilitate enforcement of this international boundary.

There are many examples of international transboundary protected areas on land (Zbicz and Green 1997), including five between the US and Canada, but in the marine environment, this conservation approach rarely has been tried. The few cases that exist are all coastal. If designated, the GOMIOW would be the first international ocean wilderness of its kind. It would encompass approximately 2,700 square nautical miles, or roughly 6% of the US Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ EEZ Exclusive Economic Zone ) in the Gulf of Maine. An area of similar size and relative proportion would be protected in the Canadian waters of the Gulf of Maine.

The need for the GOMIOW

With the exception of several small areas, such as the Dry Tortugas Dry Tortugas (tôrt`gəz), island group in the Gulf of Mexico, off S Fla., 60 mi (97 km) W of Key West.  Ecosystem Reserve in Florida and state protected areas off the coast of California, no permanent reserves protect marine biodiversity in deep-water continental shelf systems in the US from fishing or other commercial practices that damage marine habitats (Brailovskaya 1998). At present, less than 1% of US territorial waters territorial waters: see waters, territorial.
territorial waters

Waters under the sovereign jurisdiction of a nation or state, including both marginal sea and inland waters.
 and less than 1% of the world's oceans are protected in reserves (NCEAS NCEAS National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis  2001).

In the Gulf of Maine, there are few areas that are adequately protected for the purpose of conserving marine biodiversity. Even the National Marine Sanctuary (NMS See NetWare Management System. ) at Stellwagen Bank does not have sufficient restrictions on degradative activities. On the Canadian side of the Hague Line, there are as yet no permanent marine sanctuaries of any kind. The risk of significant loss of marine biodiversity is great because most of the Gulf of Maine is exposed to intense commercial uses, including commercial fishing and extraction of other natural resources. By and large, of all commercial and recreational uses, fishing, especially with bottom-tending mobile gears, poses the greatest threat. A description of the major fisheries in the Gulf of Maine is provided below, along with a discussion of the weaknesses of present-day fisheries management in protecting marine biodiversity and ecosystem functions.

Major fisheries in New England

Commercial and recreational fishing occurs throughout the New England continental shelf and slope areas. Scientists have recognized fishing as the most widespread form of human-caused disturbance on the North American North American

named after North America.

North American blastomycosis
see North American blastomycosis.

North American cattle tick
see boophilusannulatus.
 continental shelf (Messieh et al. 1991; Auster et al. 1996; Auster and Langton 1999; Friedlander et al. 1999; Watling and Norse 1999; McConnaughey et al. in press). The three major commercial fisheries in the Gulf of Maine are the (1) Northeast Multispecies ("Groundfish") Fishery; (2) Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery; and (3) Atlantic Lobster Fishery. Many of these fisheries are severely depleted de·plete  
tr.v. de·plet·ed, de·plet·ing, de·pletes
To decrease the fullness of; use up or empty out.

[Latin d
 and are now slowly recovering. Depletion of traditional groundfish species has forced fishermen into virgin fishing grounds, which exacerbates the ecological impacts of the industry. New fisheries have been created that target former "trash" species, like spiny spiny

sharp spines protrude.

spiny amaranth

spiny anteater
see echidna.

spiny clotburr

spiny emex
see emex australis.
 dogfish dogfish, name for a number of small sharks of several different families. Best known are the spiny dogfishes (family Squalidae) and the smooth dogfishes (family Triakidae). Spiny dogfishes have two spines, one in front of each dorsal fin, and lack an anal fin.  (Squalus acanthius) and monkfish monkfish

Any of 10–12 species (genus Squatina, family Squatinidae) of sharks having a flattened head and body, with winglike pectoral and pelvic fins that make them resemble rays. The tail bears two dorsal fins, and behind each eye is a prominent spiracle.
 (Lophius americanus). Now these fish species are depleted as well and are under rebuilding plans.

Of these fisheries, the groundfish and scallop fisheries affect the greatest spatial area in the Gulf of Maine since bottom-tending mobile gear is used, including bottom trawls and scallop dredges. Approximately 90% of all groundfish landed from the Gulf of Maine is caught by bottom trawls (large nets and associated gear that are dragged along the seafloor to catch fish). Recent analyses to determine the extent of fishing practices in the Gulf of Maine have found that, on average, the entire US Gulf of Maine territory was trawled once annually between 1976 and 1991, while Georges Bank was trawled three to four times annually (Auster et al. 1996).

The scallop fishery extends from New England to the Mid-Atlantic in waters 40 to 100 meters in depth. Over 95% of scallops are landed using large, metal scallop dredges that are 15 feet wide and weigh over two tons. Most scallop fishermen use two 15-foot dredges. High-resolution vessel-monitoring data of fishing effort showed that in 1999 the scallop fishery affected, to varying degrees, over 12,000 square nautical miles -- equivalent to the combined area of Connecticut, Rhode Island Rhode Island, island, United States
Rhode Island, island, 15 mi (24 km) long and 5 mi (8 km) wide, S R.I., at the entrance to Narragansett Bay. It is the largest island in the state, with steep cliffs and excellent beaches.
, and the state of Massachusetts (Rago and McSherry 2000). At the same time, New England's largest fishery, the Atlantic Lobster fishery, uses fixed gear (lobster pots) rather than bottom-tending mobile gear and affects only an estimated 219 to 657 square kilometers as of 1996 (Auster and Langton 1999).

Overall, commercial fisheries target species throughout their geographic range, and the wide array of harvesting techniques allow fishing to occur over the widest range of habitat types (Auster and Langton 1999).

Environmental effects of New England fisheries

Loss of marine biodiversity

Fishing reduces marine biodiversity in two major ways: (1) directly, by removing target and non-target marine species from the ecosystem; and (2) indirectly, through habitat disruption, homogenization homogenization (həmŏj'ənəzā`shən), process in which a mixture is made uniform throughout. Generally this procedure involves reducing the size of the particles of one component of the mixture and dispersing them evenly , and reduction of habitat complexity.

Both scallop dredges and bottom trawls are non-selective and collect significant bycatch of other marine life. Discards in the US Gulf of Maine groundfish fisheries were 26 to 44% of total catch (by weight) in 1991 (Murawski 1993). Recent studies in the Northwest Atlantic have found that hundreds of species are caught incidentally in the scallop fishery (Fuller et al. 1998; Magee et al. 1999, 2000) and the groundfish fishery. Bycatch in both fisheries is a significant problem and likely is underestimated due to underreporting of discards at sea. There presently is no rigorous recording of vertebrate and invertebrate invertebrate (ĭn'vûr`təbrət, –brāt'), any animal lacking a backbone. The invertebrates include the tunicates and lancelets of phylum Chordata, as well as all animal phyla other than Chordata.  bycatch species, nor any attempt to estimate non-target species mortality.

Bycatch of non-target species that are long-lived and exceptionally sensitive to increased levels of mortality, such as barndoor skate (Raja laevis) and deep-water corals (Cnidaria), commonly occurs and could negatively impact their populations (e.g. Breeze et al. 1997; Casey and Myers 1998; Musick 1999). For organisms that easily pass through meshes in fishing gear, or are easily macerated during the process of fishing (such as sponges), analysis of bycatch does not indicate the degree of impact (Freese et al. 1999).

Over the period 1970 to 1993, the frequency of occurrence of 26 finfish finfish

fish with fins, that is teleosts, elasmobranches, holocephalids, agnathids and cephalochordates; also a fish marketer's term used to include that section of marketable fish which is neither shellfish nor molluscs.
 species decreased on the Scotian Shelf, including the Bay of Fundy Noun 1. Bay of Fundy - a bay of the North Atlantic between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia; noted for rapid tides as great as 70 feet
Atlantic, Atlantic Ocean - the 2nd largest ocean; separates North and South America on the west from Europe and Africa on the east
. The steepest declines were observed in smooth skate (Raja senta), thorny skate (Raja radiata), monkfish (Lophius americanus), cusk cusk
 or torsk

Long-bodied food fish (Brosme brosme) of the cod family, found along the bottom of deep offshore waters on either side of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is a small-scaled fish with a large mouth and a barbel (fleshy feeler) on its chin.
 (Brosme brosme), haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), and wolffish wolf·fish  
Any of several northern marine fishes of the genus Anarhichas, having sharp powerful teeth and a voracious appetite.

Noun 1.
 (Anarhichas lupus lupus (l`pəs), noninfectious chronic disease in which antibodies in an individual's immune system attack the body's own substances. ) (Strong and Hanke 1995). Scientists have identified similar declines in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is an 842-square-mile (638-square-nautical-mile) federally protected marine sanctuary located at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay, between Cape Cod and Cape Ann.  (Auster in press).

Loss of pristine habitats

The Gulf of Maine contains uncounted numbers of benthic species, many of which are sensitive to bottom-tending mobile gear. Benthic invertebrates are the basis of marine food webs and healthy marine ecosystems. Sedentary structure-forming fauna such as corals, sponges, and tube worms form habitat and shelter for other species, including juvenile commercial fishes and shellfish species, and are particularly vulnerable to the effects of fishing gear. Current fishing practices catch and kill most benthic invertebrates and can lead to severe declines in population sizes and ranges of long-lived invertebrates like corals and sponges.

Fishing activities impact habitat integrity, community composition, and ecosystem processes (Auster and Langton 1999). Bottom-tending mobile gear reduces habitat complexity by (1) removing emergent epifauna epifauna  

Benthic animals that live on the surface of a substrate, such as rocks, pilings, marine vegetation, or the sea or lake floor itself. Epifauna may attach themselves to such surfaces or range freely over them, as by crawling or swimming.
; (2) smoothing sedimentary bedforms; and (3) removing taxa taxa: see taxon.  that produce structure (Auster et al. 1996). Studies of the effects of bottom-tending mobile gear have found that, in virtually every case, such gear alters the structure of the bottom physically and biologically and reduces species abundance and diversity (for reviews, see Auster and Langton 1999; ICES 2000).

There are over 90 studies documenting the effects of scallop gear, which has a particularly heavy impact. A standard New Bedford scallop dredge can remove and suspend into the water column approximately four to five centimeters of the surface sediment layer. These surface sediments contain more than half of all the benthic invertebrates and most of the easily digestible digestible

having the quality of being able to be digested.

digestible energy
the proportion of the potential energy in a feed which is in fact digested.

digestible protein
see digestible protein.
 organic matter that these invertebrates use for food. Scallop dredges capture significant amounts of bycatch and disrupt spawning aggregations of groundfish and other marine life. As the structure of the bottom increases in complexity, especially in muddy sand or gravelly grav·el·ly  
1. Of, full of, or covered with rock fragments or pebbles: a gravelly beach.

2. Having a harsh rasping sound: a gravelly voice.
 areas, the loss of biomass and species numbers caused by scallop dredging increases dramatically. In most areas where scallop gear is used, the biodiversity of the area is inevitably reduced (Veale et al. 2000).

Scientists have also documented the need for complex habitats to support commercial groundfish populations. Several studies show that juvenile demersal de·mer·sal  
1. Dwelling at or near the bottom of a body of water: a demersal fish.

 fish die at a higher rate in less complex habtiats (Lindholm et al. 1999). Experimental research has demonstrated that structural shelter that provides refuges for prey is often a limiting factor for growth of the population (Hixon 1991). Lindholm and coworkers (1999) described how predation predation

Form of food getting in which one animal, the predator, eats an animal of another species, the prey, immediately after killing it or, in some cases, while it is still alive. Most predators are generalists; they eat a variety of prey species.
 on juvenile cod was reduced significantly in areas where habitat structure was experimentally enhanced. These observations argue for the importance of protecting complex habitats on the sea floor from destructive fishing practices (see Watling and Norse 1999).

In the past twenty years TWENTY YEARS. The lapse of twenty years raises a presumption of certain facts, and after such a time, the party against whom the presumption has been raised, will be required to prove a negative to establish his rights.
, technological advances in fishing technology have allowed trawls to access previously inaccessible areas, including waters to depths of 2,000 meters. As gear technology continues to advance, there are few areas that remain inaccessible. By consequence, only areas that legally are closed to destructive fishing practices will experience reduced human impact in the Gulf of Maine and shelf area.

Inadequacies of present-day fisheries management

Lack of adequate habitat protections

Habitat damage due to commercial fishing has been exacerbated by inadequate management for conservation of marine habitat and marine biodiversity. For the past 25 years, fishery managers have virtually ignored the need for habitat protection, in part due to their focus on controlling fishing effort to prevent overfishing. Regulatory tools largely are aimed at the behavior of fishers through management of allowable catch and through effort limitation (Auster and Shackell 2000). The past failure of fishery managers to regulate fishing gear has led to uncontrolled use of technological advances that increase the ability of fishers to access, deeper and more complex habitat types. One example of such a technological advance is the creation of "rockhopper Rockhopper may refer to:
  • Southern Rockhopper Penguin and Northern Rockhopper Penguin, two species of penguin.
  • Rockhopper (Club Penguin), a fictional pirate from the MMORG Club Penguin.
  • Rockhopper (airline), an Alderney based airline.
  • a type of motorcycle
" gear, which are large (12 inches to 48 inches) fixed rubber discs placed in front of a bottom trawl trawl - To sift through large volumes of data (e.g. Usenet postings, FTP archives, or the Jargon File) looking for something of interest. , allowing access to very rough bottoms. These structurally complex sites, now accessible to mobile fishing gear, no longer serve as natural refuges for fish and invertebrates. The "old growth" condition of the sites makes them particularly sensitive to disturbance. Both fishermen and marine scientists have recognized that there are few areas left which cannot be accessed by trawl gear (Fuller and Cameron 1998).

In October 1996, the US Congress passed the Sustainable Fisheries Act, which amended the Magnuson Fisheries Conservation and Management Act and required fishery managers to identify and protect "essential fish habitat." Despite estimates of the type, direction, and level of disturbance that fishing activities can have on continental shelf systems, fishery managers in New England and nationwide took few steps to implement habitat conservation measures. The basic rationale for lack of action was that without proof of impacts by particular gears and a greater understanding of the linkages between particular habitats and exploited species, there was not enough information to be precautionary (Auster 2001).

Overall, current habitat management is the antithesis of precautionary management.

Lack of ecosystem-based management

Fishery management presently overlooks ecosystem relationships and the protection of marine foodwebs. It also fails to provide protection to benthic invertebrates. Management instead focuses on maximizing fish extraction from the ecosystem, using a single-species approach. Such an approach ignores trophic trophic /tro·phic/ (tro´fik) (trof´ik) pertaining to nutrition.

Of, relating to, or characterized by nutrition.
 interactions and attempts to conserve ecosystems through management of its parts. This approach is further limited to conserving only commercially-important fish species. There are presently no adequate plans to monitor or conserve non-target marine life or the benthic invertebrates commonly caught as bycatch in fisheries.

In 1999, the National Marine Fisheries Service-sponsored Ecosystem Principles Advisory Panel recommended an ecosystem-based management approach for fisheries (NMFS NMFS National Marine Fisheries Service
NMFS National Mortality Followback Survey
NMFS Network Multimedia File System
NMFS Nested Mount File System
 1999) but found that existing Fishery Management Plans are not sufficient to implement such an approach. "No-take" zones and marine protected areas (MPAs) are an important component of an ecosystem-based strategy (Witherell et al. 2000).

The Stellwagen Bank NMS in the Gulf of Maine does little to protect commercial fish stocks or fish habitat from the effects of commercial fishing practices. Presently, the use of all fishing gear, including bottom-tending mobile gear, is allowed in Stellwagen Bank NMS. Recent studies have shown significant changes in marine biodiversity over the past 25 years, mainly due to commercial fishing (Auster in press).

Lack of protection for species at risk

Recently, several species have been identified as being at risk of extinction, mainly due to incidental bycatch in fishing gears (Musick et al. 2000). For example, the barndoor skate has declined 90 to 99% over the last 50 years due to incidental capture in trawls and dredges (Casey and Myers 1998). Atlantic halibut halibut: see flatfish.

Any of various flatfishes, especially the Atlantic and Pacific halibuts (genus Hippoglossus, family Pleuronectidae), both of which have eyes and colour on the right side.
 (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) is eligible for listing under the Endangered Species Act The federal Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) (16 U.S.C.A. §§ 1531 et seq.) was enacted to protect animal and plant species from extinction by preserving the ecosystems in which they survive and by providing programs for their conservation.  and continues to be caught as bycatch. Most of this bycatch is unreported and unassessed. Atlantic halibut commonly are caught before they are able to reproduce, further depleting the population. Overall, fishery management does not have a systematic approach for protecting species that are prone to extinction. Due to discretion, there is no automatic protection for species that might be prone to extinction (Murawski et al. 2000).

Benefits of GOMIOW

A fundamental problem in marine conservation is our lack of knowledge regarding the number and location of important and sensitive areas that require protection. This information is essential for creating a regional system of marine refuges that adequately protects the biodiversity of any region. It is difficult to select habitats for protection and to determine their size given the paucity of knowledge about the relative importance of habitat features found in any region, such as the continental shelf. A precautionary approach is necessary to protect habitats while scientists gather information about fundamental habitat parameters across spatial and temporal scales. Auster and Shackell (2000) have shown that the most effective conservation strategy for protecting biodiversity is to categorize habitats and protect areas within each category. The GOMIOW provides protection to a wide range of habitats based on sediment types, landscape features, and habitats of concern. The GOMIOW is therefore consistent with the precautionary principle.

The need for no-take MPAs is widely recognized because they protect coastal ecosystems and populations of exploited species, improve scientific understanding of marine ecosystems, and provide increased opportunities for other activities (Murray et al. 1999).

Recently, 161 marine scientists prepared a scientific consensus statement on marine reserves (NCEAS 2001). They concluded that marine reserves are a highly effective but under-appreciated and under-utilized tool that can help alleviate many of the problems associated with present fishery management.

No-take MPAs can be designated to protect sponges and corals where a single pass of mobile gear causes high mortality or damage (Freese et al. 1999) and recruitment of these taxa is sporadic or unpredictable. Similarly, no-take MPAs might reduce the risk of endangering species that are not assessed or sampled (Musick et al. 2000) or minimize the risk of depleting populations of non-targeted species (Casey and Myers 1998; Auster 2001). The GOMIOW achieves many of these conservation objectives.

Protection of at-risk species

In 1999, the Marine Conservation Biology Institute hosted a scientific workshop to identify priority areas in the Gulf of Maine in need of increased protection from the effects of commercial activities. While many of the areas identified in coastal areas fell outside the proposed GOMIOW, the majority of offshore sites were clustered within and around the GOMIOW, including areas having populations of species of concern: barndoor skate, Atlantic halibut, and deep-sea corals.

Protection of habitats and marine biodiversity

Fishery managers continue to manage commercial fisheries solely for maximizing economic outputs, not for the protection and maintenance of marine biodiversity. Recent studies show that present-day fisheries affect marine biodiversity in the Gulf of Maine at the local scale (Auster, 2001). By extending the GOMIOW protected area along and across the Hague Line, a representative cross-section of the habitats of the Gulf of Maine would be included, which protects the benthic biodiversity of this biologically diverse region. The GOMIOW would eliminate fishing-gear-induced changes in habitat structure and, over time, allow habitat complexity to increase (Auster et al. 1995) as areas that were chronically fished would be allowed to naturally restore. The GOMIOW also would protect pristine habitats against future impacts.

Willison (2001) has proposed a global network of MPAs, which would include "cornerstone" MPAs on international boundaries. The GOMIOW would be one of these. If cornerstone MPAs were established, each nation could develop compatible, rather than mismatched, national systems. International cornerstones therefore could act as nuclei for a multi-national system of protected areas in North America, regardless of the differing legal systems and political systems on the continent.

Creation of spawning sanctuaries

Research has been conducted on the benefits of a cross-shelf marine wilderness to commercial species. For example, a model created by McGarvey and Willison (1995) indicates that establishing a marine wilderness on Georges Bank would enhance the scallop fishery by allowing scallops to grow larger and thereby increase individual egg and larvae Larvae, in Roman religion
Larvae: see lemures.
 production. The study finds that by protecting 8 to 10% of the productive part of Georges Bank, there would be a substantial effect on scallop recruitment throughout the Bank. These areas would act as spawning sanctuaries. Portions of a cohort of postlarval and juvenile age classes, which settle or migrate to a MPA MPA

medroxyprogesterone acetate.
, would experience enhanced survivorship survivorship n. the right to receive full title or ownership due to having survived another person. Survivorship is particularly applied to persons owning real property or other assets, such as bank accounts or stocks, in "joint tenancy. , potentially increasing recruitment to the fishable stock (Lindholm et al. 1999). Subsequent closures of areas to scallop fishing on Georges Bank have borne out this prediction.

Promote scientific research

There is inadequate information for the management of marine ecosystems in the Gulf of Maine. By implementing the GOMIOW, precautionary management is promoted by preserving pieces of undisturbed habitats, which also provide sites for a wide range of future scientific research. In order to obtain reliable data and create robust models, experiments with adequate controls are essential. Currently, lack of control areas in New England presents a significant obstacle to research on fish habitat (Dorsey and Pederson 1998).

For marine scientists, the major problem with assessing the impacts of bottom-tending mobile gear is the lack of sites that have gone unfished for long periods of time. Without control sites, scientists cannot determine the effects of fishing gear. In order to understand clearly the effects of fishing on different types of habitat, areas need to be closed so that experiments can determine effort-specific rates of impacts (Auster and Langton 1999). The GOMIOW would close portions of the five major habitat types found in the Gulf of Maine, essentially creating control sites for future habitat research.


The need for ocean wilderness areas in the Gulf of Maine continues. While the Clinton Administration did not designate the GOMIOW as an ocean wilderness, the National Ocean Service recognizes the need for such marine reserves in New England and is presently hosting a set of workshops to identify key areas for protection. American Oceans Campaign continues to promote the GOMIOW and other similar means to designate protected ocean wilderness areas in the Gulf of Maine. The United States and Canada should begin formal discussion on the subject of using the GOMIOW as a tool for integrating marine conservation across the artificial international boundary in the Gulf of Maine.


Literature cited

Auster, P.J., R.J. Malatesta, R.W. Langton, L. Watling, P.C. Valentine, C.L.S. Donaldson, E.W. Langton, A.N. Shepard, and I.G. Babb. 1996. The impacts of mobile fishing gear on seafloor habitats in the Gulf of Maine (Northwest Atlantic): implications for conservation of fish populations. Reviews in Fisheries Science 4:185-202.

Auster, P.J. and R.W. Langton. 1999. The effects of fishing on fish habitat. American Fisheries Society Symposium 22:150-187.

Auster, P.J. In press. Representation of biological diversity of the Gulf of Maine Region at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (Northwest Atlantic): Patterns of fish diversity and assemblage composition. In S. Bondrup-Nielsen, N.W.P. Munro, G. Nelson, and J.H.M. Willison, eds. Protected Areas in a Changing World. SAMPAA SAMPAA Science and the Management of Protected Areas (Conference) , Wolfville, Nova Scotia Wolfville is a small town in the rural Annapolis Valley, Kings County, Nova Scotia, Canada, located about 100 km (62 mi) northwest of the provincial capital, Halifax. As of 2001, the population was 3,658. .

Auster, P.J. and N.L. Shackell. 2000. Marine protected areas for the temperate and boreal bo·re·al  
1. Of or relating to the north; northern.

2. Of or concerning the north wind.

3. Boreal
 Northwest Atlantic: the potential for sustainable fisheries and conservation of biodiversity. Northeastern Naturalist 7(4):419-434.

Auster, P.J. 2001. Defining thresholds for precautionary habitat management actions in a fisheries context. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 21:1-9.

Auster, P.J, R.J. Malatesta, and S.C. LaRosa. 1995. Patterns of microhabitat microhabitat

the normal environment, the natural home, of a microorganism.
 utilization by mobile megafauna meg·a·fau·na  
n. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)
Large or relatively large animals, as of a particular region or period, considered as a group.

 on the southern New England (USA) continental shelf and slope. Marine Ecology Progress Series 127:77-85.

Brailovskaya, T. 1998. Obstacles to protecting marine biodiversity through marine wilderness preservation: Examples from the New England region. Conservation Biology 12(6): 1236-1240.

Breeze, H., D. Davis, M. Butler, and V. Kostylev. 1997. Distribution and status of deep sea corals off Nova Scotia. Special Publication No. 1:1-58, Marine Issues Committee, Ecology Action Centre, Halifax, NS, Canada.

Casey, J.M. and R.A. Myers. 1998. Near extinction of a large, widely distributed fish. Science 281:690-692.

Dorsey, E.M. and J. Pederson, eds. 1998. Effects of fishing gear on the seafloor of New England. MIT MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology  Sea Grant Publication 98-4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology, at Cambridge; coeducational; chartered 1861, opened 1865 in Boston, moved 1916. It has long been recognized as an outstanding technological institute and its Sloan School of Management has notable programs in business, , Boston.

Freese, L., P.J. Auster, J. Heifetz, and Wing, B.L. 1999. Effects of trawling For fishing by dragging a baited line after a boat, see .

Trawling is a method of fishing that involves actively pulling a fishing net through the water behind one or more boats, called trawlers.
 on seafloor habitat and associated invertebrate taxa in the Gulf of Alaska Noun 1. Gulf of Alaska - a gulf of the Pacific Ocean between the Alaska Peninsula and the Alexander Archipelago
Pacific, Pacific Ocean - the largest ocean in the world
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Friedlander, A.M., G.W. Boehlert, M.E. Field, J.E. Mason, J.V. Gardner, and P. Dartnell. 1999. Side-scan sonar mapping of benthic trawl marks on the shelf and slope of Eureka, California. Fisheries Bulletin 97:786-801.

Fuller, S. and P. Cameron. 1998. Marine benthic seascapes Seascapes is an RTÉ Radio 1 programme broadcast on Fridays at 8.30 pm. and presented by Tom MacSweeney. It is intended to cover all subjects of maritime interest, from leisure to commercial shipping, as well as fishing and the environment. : fishermen's perspectives. Marine Issues Committee Special Publication #3, Ecology Action Centre, Halifax, NS, Canada.

Fuller, S.D., E. Kenchington, D.S D.S Drainage Structure (flood protection) . Davis, and M. Butler. 1998. Associated species of commercial scallop grounds in the Lower Bay of Fundy. Marine Issues Committee Special Publication No. 2, Ecology Action Centre, Halifax, NS, Canada.

Hixon, M.A. 1991. Predation as a process structuring coral reef fish communities. Pp 475-508 in P.F. Sale, ed. The ecology of fishes on coral reefs. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
For the ICES civil engineering software package see COGO.

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) (Conseil International de l'Exploration de la Mer (CIEM)
 (ICES). 2000. Effects of different types of fisheries on North Sea and Irish Sea benthic ecosystems: review of the IMPACT II report. ICES, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Lindholm, J., L. Kaufman, and P.J. Auster. 1999. Habitat-mediated Survivorship of Juvenile (0-year) Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Marine Ecology Progress Series 180:247-255.

Magee, S., E. Kenchington, D.S. Davis, and M. Butler. 1999. Diversity and distribution of associated fauna of commercial scallop grounds in the Lower Bay of Fundy. Canadian Technical Report Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences #2285.

Magee, S. E. Kenchington, D.S. Davis, and M. Butler. 2000. Epibiota of scallop beds in the Lower Bay of Fundy. Marine Issues Committee Special Publication No. 10, Ecology Action Centre, Halifax, NS, Canada.

McConnaughey, R.A., K. Mier, and C.B. Dew. In press. An examination of chronic trawling effects on soft-bottom benthos benthos: see marine biology.  of the eastern Bering Sea. ICES Journal of Marine Science.

McGarvey, R. and J.H.M. Willison. 1995. Rationale for a marine protected area along the international boundary between U.S. and Canadian waters in the Gulf of Maine. Pp 74-81 in N.L. Shackell and J.H.M. Willison, eds. Marine Protected Areas and Sustainable Fisheries. SAMPAA, Wolfville, Canada.

Messieh, S.N., T.W. Rowell, D.L Peer, and P.J. Cranford. 1991. The effects of trawling, dredging and ocean dumping on the eastern Canadian shelf seabed. Continental Shelf Research 11:1237-1263.

Murawski, S.A. 1993. Factors influencing by-catch and discard rates: analysis from multispecies/multifishery sea sampling. NAFO NAFO Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization
NAFO Network Adapter Failover (Sun Microsystems)
NAFO National Association of Fire Officers (UK)
NAFO National Association of Fire Officials
 SCR (Sequence Control Register) See program counter.  Doc. 93/115. 17pp.

Murawski, S.A. 2000. Definitions of over-fishing from an ecosystem perspective. ICES Journal of Marine Sciences, 57:649-658.

Murawski, S.A., R. Brown, H-L Lai, P.J. Rago, L. Hendrickson. 2000. Large-scale closed areas as a fishery-management tool in temperate marine systems: The Georges Bank experience. Bulletin of Marine Science 66(3):775-798.

Murray, S.N., R.F. Ambrose, J.A. Bohnsack, L.W. Botsford, M.H. Carr, G.E. Davis, P.K. Dayton, D. Gotshall, D.R. Gunderson, M.A. Hixon, J. Lubchenco, M. Mangel, A. MacCall, D.A. McArdler, J.C. Odgen, J. Roughgarden, R.M. Starr, M.J. Tegner, and M.M. Yoklavich. 1999. No-take reserve networks: sustaining fishery populations and marine ecosystems. Fisheries 24:11-25.

Musick, J.A. 1999. Ecology and conservation of long-lived marine animals. American Fisheries Society Symposium 23:1-10.

Musick, J.A., M.M. Harbin, S.A. Berkeley, G.H. Burgess, A.M. Eklund, L. Findley, R.G. Gilmore, J.T. Golden, D.S. Ha, G.R. Huntsman, J.C. McGovern, S.J. Parker, S.G. Poss v. t. 1. To push; to dash; to throw.
A cat . . . possed them [the rats] about.
- Piers Plowman.
, E. Sala, T.W. Schmidt, G.R. Sedberry, H. Weeks, and S.G. Wright. 2000. Marine, Estuarine es·tu·a·rine  
1. Of, relating to, or found in an estuary.

2. Geology Formed or deposited in an estuary.

Adj. 1. estuarine - of or relating to or found in estuaries
, and Diadromous Fish Stocks at Risk of Extinction in North America (Exclusive of Pacific Salmonids). Fisheries 25:6-29.

National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis is a research center for the science of ecology, located in Santa Barbara, California, USA. Better known by its acronym NCEAS (pronounced N-seece), it opened in May, 1995, funded by the US National Science Foundation, the  (NCEAS). 2001. Scientific consensus statement on marine reserves and marine protected areas.

National Marine Fisheries Service The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is a United States federal agency. A division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Commerce, NMFS is responsible for the stewardship and management of the nation's living marine  (NMFS). 1999. Ecosystem-based Fishery Management. Ecosystem Advisory Panel to NMFS. NOAA NOAA
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Noun 1. NOAA - an agency in the Department of Commerce that maps the oceans and conserves their living resources; predicts changes to the earth's environment;
 Technical Memorandum NMFS-F/SPO-33. National Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, MD.

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Strong, P.J. and A. Hanke. 1995. Diversity of finfish species in the Scotia-Fundy Region. Canadian Technical Report Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences #2017.

Veale, L.O., A.S. Hill, S.J. Hawkins, and A.R. Brand. 2000. Effects of long-term physical disturbance by commercial scallop fishing on subtidal epifaunal assemblages and habitats. Marine Biology 137:325-337.

Willison, J.H.M. 2001. The Role of Cornerstones in Systematic Planning for Marine Protected Areas in North America. In S. Bondrup-Nielsen, N.W.P. Munro, G. Nelson, and J.H.M. Willison, eds. Protected Areas in a Changing World. SAMPAA, Wolfville, Canada.

Watling, L. and E.A. Norse. 1999. Disturbance of the seabed by mobile fishing gear: a comparison to forest clearcutting. Conservation Biology 12:1180-1197.

Witherell, D., C. Pautzke, and D. Fluharty. 2000. An ecosystem-based approach for Alaska groundfish fisheries. ICES Journal of Marine Science 57:771-777.

Zbicz, D.C. and M.J.B. Green. 1997. Status of the world's transfrontier protected areas. Parks 7(3):5-10.

Christopher J. Zeman Fisheries Program Counsel and New England Field Representative, American Oceans Campaign;

J.H. Martin Willison School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia For other uses, see Halifax.
Halifax, Nova Scotia may refer to any of the following:
  • Halifax Regional Municipality, capital of Nova Scotia, Canada
, Canada B3H 3J5;
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Author:Zeman, Christopher J.; Willison, J.H. Martin
Publication:Endangered Species Update
Date:Sep 1, 2001
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