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Gulf of Maine

Gulf of Maine

The Gulf of Maine is a large gulf of the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of North America.

It is delineated by Cape Cod at the eastern tip of Massachusetts in the southwest and Cape Sable at the southern tip of Nova Scotia in the northeast. It includes the entire coastlines of the U.S. states of New Hampshire and Maine, as well as Massachusetts north of Cape Cod, and the southern and western coastlines of the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, respectively.

Both Massachusetts Bay and the Bay of Fundy are included within the Gulf of Maine system. As such, the Gulf of Maine is also home to the highest tidal variations on the planet (see Bay of Fundy for further information).

Contents

  • Geographic features and biological importance 1
  • Gulf of Maine watershed 2
  • History and political significance 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Geographic features and biological importance

The coastline of the Gulf of Maine is predominantly rocky and scenic; the only significant coastal developments are located in the Gulf Stream. Gulf of Maine waters are more strongly influenced by the Labrador Current, making the gulf waters significantly colder and more nutrient-rich than those found to the south. Undersea valleys in the central basin can reach depths of 1,500 feet (500 m) while undersea mountains rise up 800 feet (266 m) from the sea floor, almost reaching the surface in some locations, or even exceeding it, creating islands.

Major features of the Gulf of Maine

There are three major basins contained within the Gulf of Maine: Wilkinson Basin to the west, Jordan Basin in the northeast, and Georges Basin in the south, which are isolated from each other beneath the 650 foot (200 m) Nantucket Shoals.

Due to rapid warming of the Gulf of Maine, the water has become too hot for cod. This has pushed stocks towards collapse despite deep reductions in the number of fish caught, according to a study conducted by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.[1]

Gulf of Maine watershed

The watershed of the gulf encompasses an area of 69,115 miles² (179,008 km²), including all of Maine, 70% of New Hampshire, 56% of New Brunswick, 41% of Massachusetts, and 36% of Nova Scotia. The watershed also includes a small southern portion (less than 1%) of the Canadian province of Quebec. Significant rivers that drain into the Gulf include, from east to west, the Annapolis, Shubenacadie, Salmon, Petitcodiac, Saint John, Magaguadavic, St. Croix, Penobscot, Kennebec, Saco, Piscataqua, Merrimack and Charles rivers; the Saint John and Penobscot having the greatest discharge.

The cold waters, extreme tidal mixing, and diverse bottom of the Gulf make it one of the most productive marine environments in the North Atlantic, and it furnishes habitat for many diverse species including most notably Haddock, the Acadian redfish (Sebastes fasciatus), the Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) and the American lobster (Homarus americanus), which grows to famously large sizes in the Gulf. The waters of the Gulf of Maine system, particularly at the boundary with the Bay of Fundy are also home to the summering grounds for many different whale species, most notably the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale.

History and political significance

Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, in mid-September 2004

The gulf's relative proximity to Europe made it an early destination for European colonization. French settlers founded a settlement on St. Croix Island in 1604. English settlers founded the Popham Colony on an island in the Kennebec River in 1607, the same year as the Jamestown settlement, followed by the Plymouth Colony on the shores of Massachusetts Bay in 1620.

In the 1960s and 1970s there was a dispute between Canada and the United States over fishing and other resource rights in the Gulf of Maine, specifically the Georges Bank in the southern part of the gulf.

See also

References

  1. ^ [Water Too Warm for Cod in U.S. Gulf of Maine, Stock Near Collapse "http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/water-too-warm-cod-u-s-gulf-maine-stock-near-n454521"] . NBC New. Retrieved 30 October 2015. 

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

  • Gulf of Maine Research Institute
  • Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment

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