What is the Eastern Maine Coastal Current Collaborative?

The Eastern Maine Coastal Current Collaborative (EM3C) is a project between Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, NOAA Fisheries, and the Maine Department of Marine Resources to develop a research framework that supports ecosystem-based fisheries management in the Eastern Maine Coastal Current and its associated watersheds.

An ecosystem-based approach provides a comprehensive and collaborative mechanism with the goal of improving the resiliency of coastal communities and the sustainability of fisheries. The ecosystem perspective recognizes that not only biological but economic and social interactions need to be considered to better understand the changes Eastern Maine may see over the coming decades.

The partners agreed to a five-year cooperative research and development project, solidifying the collaboration through 2022.

What is ecosystem-based fisheries management?

NOAA defines ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM) as a “systematic approach to fisheries management in a geographically specified area that contributes to the resilience and sustainability of the ecosystem by recognizing the physical, biological, economic, and social interactions among the affected fishery-related components of the ecosystem, including humans.”

EBFM supports a widely held view that traditional approaches to studying marine systems are often not well suited for dealing with the heterogeneity or complexity of interconnected riverine, coastal, and ocean environments, especially in the face of rapid change and uncertainty. EBFM represents an opportunity for adaptive processes by which we can learn and evolve approaches to management. Active participation from tribal and local stakeholders is essential.

Eastern Maine Coastal Current Collaborative Geographic Focus

Where is the geographic focus of this project?

EM3C focuses on the Eastern Maine Coastal Current, which extends from the western edge of Penobscot Bay to the Canadian border, and includes all upland watersheds in between. The Eastern Maine Coastal Current is a distinct sub-region within the Gulf of Maine, with unique oceanographic, ecological, and societal characteristics that warrant further exploration. Focusing both inland and offshore will produce a more detailed understanding of the ecosystem connections affecting the resilience and sustainability of coastal communities and economies. EM3C is the first project of its kind to include all watersheds in its study area.

What are the partners’ objectives?

Collect scientific information that has the potential to support short- and immediate-term management needs

Understand historical, long-range, and holistic views of the sub-regional ecosystem

Define methods for incorporating the human and natural components of the ecosystem

Create a tested example of science in support of ecosystem-based fisheries management

Explore approaches in which stakeholders at different scales can actively contribute to the production and maintenance of knowledge

What was the State of the Science Conference?

State of the Science was a two-day conference to discuss ecosystem-based fisheries management in Eastern Maine, which brought together experts from local governments, fishing, science, and academic communities. The conference was the first step toward producing a comprehensive understanding of our current knowledge of Eastern Maine’s watersheds, intertidal, nearshore, and offshore ecosystems. The conference, took place on June 17-18, 2019 in Machias, and was hosted by the EM3C partners.

State of the Science Conference Summary

Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries