2008 Annual Report
Gulf of Maine Research Institute

Science Overview

What factors contribute to a healthy ocean and abundant marine life? How do human activities change the equation? The results over the past year have informed fishery management efforts and led to more environmentally friendly and cost effective fishing gear and practices. We provided an objective scientific lens to accelerate sustainable seafood production and worked to understand potential climate change impacts in the Gulf of Maine. We developed tools to visualize a variety of both real time and long-term data on environmental and oceanographic conditions in the Gulf of Maine.

A number of ongoing projects provided critical insight on the lives of cod, haddock, lobster, monkfish, herring, and red crab. Our scientists also studied species, like alewives, salmon, and stripers, which move between fresh and salt water. We used sonar to “see” fish schools and tagged fish to track their movements. Ear bones and muscle tissue told us much about how old fish were, the places they had lived, and what they had eaten throughout their lives.

Even tiny plankton had a story to tell. To understand potential impacts of warmer and more acidic waters in the Gulf of Maine, we quantified changes in the abundance and condition of the copepods that power our marine food web. This work has potential to provide important insights about how climate change may affect larger species such as herring, mackerel, and whales that depend on copepods for food.

Research related to commercial fishing remained a critical area of impact for GMRI. Our scientists worked hand in hand with fishermen to design and test new ways of fishing that reduce catch of juveniles and non-targeted species, improve vessel fuel efficiency, and minimize damage to the seafloor. GMRI led the establishment of the Northeast Gear Conservation Engineering and Demonstration Network (GEARNET) to enable fishermen to act in response to changing regulations. Going forward, GMRI scientists will guide fishermen through the process of submitting proposals to GEARNET and then help them design, build, and test new gear that promises to reduce environmental impacts and increase profits.

Spotlight on Science

Roll over the images below to view a sample of the research underway at GMRI. Click on an image to learn more about the project.

  • 2011 Interns
  • DeepCwind
  • Right Whales
  • Species Interactions
  • Atlantic Salmon
  • Wolffish
  • Monkfish
  • Catch Sensors
  • Climate Change
  • Efficient Gear

Deepening Our Impact

Exciting partnership with the Patagonia Sur Foundation

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