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Research Document - 2010/070

Ecosystem Status and Trends Report for the Gulf of Maine and Scotian Shelf

By T. Worcester and M. Parker


This document was produced as part of the national Ecosystem Status and Trends Report program, as a deliverable under the Biodiversity Outcomes Framework, focusing on the Gulf of Maine and Scotian Shelf ecozone. It is a compilation of available scientific and technical information on the condition, trends, drivers, and stressors of the Gulf of Maine and Scotian Shelf ecozone. The report was reviewed at a national Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Science Advisory Meeting in December 2009, at which time a corresponding DFO Science Advisory Report was generated. Key findings identified at that meeting were that a major shift in ecosystem structure had occurred on the Eastern Scotian Shelf; there has been a decline in the size and condition of a number of groundfish species throughout the region; after an exponential increase in grey seal abundance for the last 30-40 years, the rate of increase has slowed considerably; and there have been changes in important oceanographic parameters, such as an increase in the average 0 to 50 m stratification index. Emerging issues included ocean acidification, invasive species, and potential impacts of fisheries on trophic level structure. Data gaps included knowledge of the ecology and trends in deep waters beyond the Scotian Shelf, status and trends of coastal ecosystems, status and trends of many non-commercial species, and the ecosystem impacts of climate change.

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