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Gulf of Maine, Explained

In our new video series, The Gulf of Maine, Explained, you’ll learn more about important-but-unfamiliar concepts related to our work. We’ll cover commercial fishing, fisheries research, sustainable seafood, education, and more. While we probably won’t answer all your questions in one short video, we hope to spark your curiosity about complicated issues that are central to our mission.


Trawling is one of the most common fishing methods here in the Gulf of Maine. But how many people have seen these fishing vessels in action? In this video, Steve Eayrs will show you what trawling looks like in our local waters. He’ll also explain some common misconceptions about trawling and discuss a bit of the research he’s engaged in.


Electronic Monitoring

In this video, Technical Programs Manager Mark Hager introduces and explains electronic monitoring — a system of cameras and computers mounted onboard fishing vessels. This suite of technology could replace the majority of human observers, who currently monitor catch data. Electronic monitoring improves this process the same way electronic tolls have improved highway traffic. The technology provides an accurate alternative to human observers that is safer and more cost-effective.



The alewife run is one of the Gulf of Maine’s most awe-inspiring seasonal events. Every year, our rivers pulse and shimmer from bank to bank as they fill with these small anadromous fish. Zach has a real passion for anadromous fish — especially alewives. Over the years, countless strangers have stopped to ask him about his cast-net and bucket of fish, and he’s always happy to oblige with an explanation. During these interactions, however, he’s noticed something: not many people know what the word anadromous means. In this short video, Zach quickly explains what it means to be anadromous, as well as the crucial role these fish play in the ecosystem.


Eating Sustainably

Sustainable Seafood Program Manager Jen Levin shares her top three strategies for eating sustainably.



When fish are harvested, scientists can extract their otoliths, or inner ear bones, for physical and chemical analysis. From this tiny calcium carbonate structure, scientists can learn more about how old a fish is, where it was born, and what environments it experienced over its lifetime. This information is critical to fisheries managers, who need data about fish populations to make good decisions about sustainable harvest. In our newest installment of Gulf of Maine, Explained, Fisheries Ecologist Dr. Lisa Kerr explains the importance of otoliths, and how she uses them in her research on Atlantic Bluefin tuna..


The Warming Gulf of Maine

As more people who care about the Gulf of Maine come to understand it as one of the fastest-warming ocean regions on the planet, one question persists: Why is the Gulf of Maine warming so rapidly? The answer is complicated, but can be distilled to three essential factors: 1. Man-Made Global Warming 2. Melting in the Arctic 3. Changing Ocean Circulation In our latest installment of Gulf of Maine Explained, Dr. Andrew Pershing details how each of these factors has led to a nearly-unparalleled rate of warming in our local waters.


Sea Level Rise

You've probably noticed more frequent news coverage of intense storms, unusual temperatures, ocean warming, and coastal flooding. As these issues become more prevalent in our daily lives, it's becoming more important to understand the impacts of these events — today and in the future. Ensuring the region's resiliency to climate impacts, such as sea level rise, requires a scientifically informed and engaged public.


Fisheries Acoustics

In the vast depths of the Gulf of Maine, concentrated patches of organisms punctuate long empty stretches. This can create some challenges for scientists who want to understand the location and abundance of certain species.
One of the most important tools our fisheries scientists use in their research is acoustics technology. In the newest installment of Gulf of Maine, Explained, Research Associate Adam Baukus details how this process works and how we use acoustics in our work.


Ecosystem Modeling

Simply put, an ecosystem model is a mathematical representation of natural system. We talk a lot about models, modeling, and modelers when we describe our work — and we’re often met with blank (but friendly!) stares. So, if you’ve ever wondered what an ecosystem model is, how it works, or why they’re so important, Dr. Kathy Mills is here to help.


Bluefin Tuna

Dr. Walt Golet studies the populations and life histories of fish. Of all the fish he studies, bluefin tuna are one of his favorites. Their large size and unique physiology (these fish are warm-blooded!) are part of what make them so interesting, but on top of that, bluefin tuna also have a relatively mysterious life history. It’s these mysteries that drive Dr. Golet’s fascination.