Drawing Lessons from Experience in Marine Ecosystem-Based Management
In December 2011, managers from three states and two Canadian provinces celebrated twenty years of working hand in hand to advance marine conservation in the Gulf of Maine. Together, they have leveraged millions of dollars to enable restoration projects, advance scientific understanding, and coordinate monitoring and management on both sides of the border. When they began meeting twenty years earlier, federal officials suggested they were “incredibly naive” to think they could make a difference in what had become a highly contentious environment. The U.S. State Department discouraged their efforts. Recalling this skepticism, one of the group’s cofounders laughs and says, “For some of us who are still around, we kind of smile and say, ‘Here we are twenty years later!’” From its humble beginnings with the simple objective “to learn and network and share information so that we can all do our respective jobs better,” the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment has become a model for transboundary marine conservation worldwide.