The Gulf of Maine is a place where first nations thrived for thousands of years on fish teeming in the deep waters and clean, connected rivers. It is a place where Old World fishermen pursued an unimaginable abundance of cod, even before the pilgrims arrived, and where coastal communities have been built, and have flourished, through a centuries-long reliance upon creatures of the sea.
These waters, chilled from artic currents and rich with plankton, set the stage for one of the most productive fishing grounds on Earth—one that supports us—providing food for our tables and jobs for our neighbors.
But these waters, once seen as limitless, are facing multiple stressors. Climate change, habitat loss, ineffective fisheries management and unsustainable fishing practices have now pushed the Gulf near its tipping point: a decline in key species, a crash in the commercial catch of some fish, and fishing families struggling to make ends meet.
We can change that course. The Gulf of Maine is resilient, like the fishermen who work its waters. Working with fishermen and other resource users is key to building lasting solutions. That is why The Nature Conservancy is partnering with fishermen to restore a healthy ecology to the Gulf of Maine and sustain our coastal economy.
The Nature Conservancy has been working with fishermen, other nonprofits, and state and Federal agencies on a three-part approach designed to help this ecosystem avoid further decline and support thriving working waterfronts and communities.