State of the Coast Publications


A blooming jellyfish in the northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean

This 2010 study examines over 50 years of jellyfish data. The study indicates an increase in the size and intensity of proliferations of the jellyfish Pelagia noctiluca due to over-fishing and increasing sea water temperatures.

A Milestone for Ocean Observation: International Argo Program Reaches One-Millionth Profile

Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada Science article that focuses on the international ocean observation program, Argo, which has collected its one-millionth “profile” of ocean conditions in real-time since its launch in 2000.

Assessing Geoduck Harvesting Impacts

This September 2011 article from DFO outlines the preliminary results of a five year study on the effects of intertidal and subtidal geoduck harvesting. The article suggests that impacts to the benthic environment are relatively minor and limited both in duration and scale.

Assessment of Assessments (AoA) Report

The Assessment of Assessment Report (2009) is part of the international initiative to develop a Regular Process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socio-economic aspects and to develop a global mechanism for delivering science-based information to decision-makers.

Canada as the Water Solutions Country: Defining the Opportunities

This Blue Economy Initiative publication is designed to frame and advance a national conversation around Canada’s opportunities to become a global leader in water sustainability and innovation .

Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators Reports

These up to date reports are designed to measure the progress of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, report to Canadians on the state of the environment, and describe Canada’s progress on key environmental sustainability issues.

Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard

The United States Federal Geographic Data Committee has published a framework for organizing knowledge about coasts and oceans and their living systems. The framework is designed to develop a consistent and universally recognized inventory of all habitats of the North American coasts and oceans.

Commission of Inquiry into the Decline of Sockeye Salmon in the Fraser River

The report, by Commissioner Bruce Cohen, makes 75 recommendations for the recovery and future sustainability of salmon populations. The report has been delivered in three volumes: The Sockeye Fishery; Causes of the Decline; and Recommendations, Summary, Process.

Conservation Objectives for the Ecologically and Biologically Significant Areas (EBSA) of the Estuary and Gulf of St Lawrence

These objectives are intended to guide managers and other ecosystem users by establishing the safe limits within which the social, cultural and economic objectives will be established. Published in 2009.

Cookbook for State of the Environment Reporting on the Internet

This 1998 booklet published by GRID-Arendal provides guidance for the development of electronic environmental status reports. Available in PDF format in both English and Russian.

Deep-Sea Litter

“Deep-sea litter: a comparison of seamounts, banks and a ridge in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans reveals both environmental and anthropogenic factors impact accumulation and composition” is an is open access paper from the Journal Frontiers and suggests that seabed litter is ubiquitous on raised benthic features, such as seamounts.

Delineating Coral and Sponge Concentrations in the Biogeographic Regions of the East Coast of Canada Using Spatial Analyses

A recently released DFO report that details the concentrations of sea pens, small and large gorgonian corals and sponges on the east coast of Canada, which have been identified through spatial analysis of research vessel survey by-catch data.

Ecosystem Overview: Beaufort Sea Large Ocean Management Area

Published in 2008.

Ecosystem Overview: Bras D'Or Lakes, Nova Scotia

Published in 2007.

Ecosystem Overview: Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence

Published in 2007.

Ecosystem Overview: Northumberland Strait

Published in 2007.

Ecosystem Overview: Shediac Bay Watershed in New Brunswick (2010)

Published in 2009.


The State of the Gulf of Maine Report is a modular document that presents an ongoing evaluation of priority issues in the Gulf of Maine.

Global and Regional Marine Assessment (GRAMED) Database

Enables the user to search through assessments and activities relating to the marine environment.

Global Ocean Health Index

The 2014 Ocean Health Index has been released and the world’s oceans have been given a score of 67. The calculation of the Ocean Health Index for 2014 represents the first year that the Ocean Health Index has calculated a score for the entire global ocean. In past years, scores were only produced for the coastal ocean, this year; Antarctica and the Southern Ocean along with the High Seas were also assessed. Canada scored 74 and ranked 39th with an annual increase of 6 %.

Over 1,000 New Ocean Fish Species Identified in Past Eight Years, Including 122 Sharks, Rays

An World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) and Lifewatch press release titled “Over 1,000 New Ocean Fish Species Identified in Past Eight Years, Including 122 Sharks, Rays” gives details on the over 1000 new-to-science marine fish species have been described since 2008 by scientists completing a consolidated inventory of all known ocean life.

Open Ocean Dead Zones

A research article published in the journal Biogeosciences titled “Open ocean dead zones in the tropical North Atlantic Ocean” found that high productivity and accompanying respiration, paired with sluggish exchange across ocean eddy boundaries create "dead zones" inside the eddies. An occurrence so far only reported for coastal areas or lakes. Direct impact of the open ocean dead zones on the marine ecosystem was observed, such as the suppression of diurnal vertical migration of zooplankton inside the ocean eddies.

Handbook for Measuring the Progress and Outcomes of Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management

This publication from the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission provides a step-by-step guide to help users in developing, selecting and applying a common set of governance, ecological and socioeconomic indicators to measure, evaluate and report on the progress and outcomes of ICOM interventions.

Health of the Salish Sea Ecosystem Report

This is a joint project of Environment Canada and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Environmental indicators for the Puget Sound have been released.

Hope for Coastal Habitats: People, Partnerships & Projects Making a Difference

This 2010 report provides thematic overviews of coastal conditions, including wetlands, shellfish, aquatic vegetation, fish passage, beach dunes and coastal barrier islands. Each section summarizes the current situation and historic trends, and describes promising restoration projects in a variety of different watershed ecosystems. Although it presents coastal habitat restoration in the best possible light, it also documents negative impacts.

Impacts of Ghost Fishing

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program, in partnership with the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, has published the report “Impact of “Ghost Fishing” via Derelict Fishing Gear”. This report is a summary of the current scientific knowledge of ghost fishing, the derelict fishing gear that contribute to it, the species mortalities, and the economic losses to certain fisheries due to ghost fishing mortalities. Gaps in knowledge are identified, and suggestions for the prevention and mitigation of derelict fishing gear and possible future research foci are presented within the framework of prevention, removal, and education as means of reducing ghost fishing.

Impacts of Marine Debris on Biodiversity: Current Status and Potential Solutions

The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel published this report, which reviews the current state of knowledge of the effects of marine debris, and provides a preliminary assessment of the impact on ecosystems and biodiversity.

Impact of Nature's Invading Aliens Measured for the First Time (2010)

Authors of the report studied 57 countries and found that, on average, there are 50 non-indigenous species per country which have a negative impact on biodiversity.

Implementing the Global State of the Oceans Report

This report by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean identifies how humankind is changing the capacity of the Global Ocean to support life and human societies on Earth.

In Dead Water: Merging Climate Change with Pollution, Over-Harvest, and Infestations in the World's Fishing Grounds

A new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has mapped the multiple impacts of pollution, alien infestations, over-harvesting and climate change on the seas and oceans. The locations of the most productive fishing grounds in the world, from shallow coastal waters to the deep and high seas, are compared to various projected scenarios.

International Day for Biological Diversity

This year's booklet for the International Day for Biological Diversity is available online.

Invasive Alien Species Legislative Review and Gap Analysis, Phase II: Aquatic Species

A report prepared for the Invasive Species Alliance of Nova Scotia, which provides a summary overview of federal and provincial (Nova Scotia) statutes and regulations that contain direct or indirect authorities to address the prevention, introduction, control and eradication of aquatic invasive species in Nova Scotia.

Marine Beach Sanitary Survey Tools

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has released Marine Beach Sanitary Survey Tools new to provide marine beach managers with a technically sound and consistent approach to identify pollution sources and share information. The survey helps marine beach managers synthesize water quality data, pollutant source data, and land use data so that they can improve beach water quality for swimming. It can also help managers set monitoring priorities, determine appropriate remediation, facilitate beach and watershed planning, and develop predictive models.

Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program has released “Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment: Recommendations for Monitoring Debris Trends in the Marine Environment” describes standardized, statistically valid methodologies for conducting rapid assessments of the debris material type and quantity present in a monitored location.

Marine Fish Identification Guide for the St. Lawrence River

The online guide has been designed to eventually include freshwater species, invertebrates, marine mammals and birds. Species can be searched by their French, English or Latin names. Details about species characteristics, and distribution maps are also available.

NAACAP Freshwater Joys: Handbook for enjoying and protecting your freshwater shoreline

This handbook produced by the Northeast Avalon ACAP group in Newfoundland is a homeowners guide to maintaining a healthy freshwater shoreline. Topics include: the importance of shorelines, shoreline erosion, caring for your lawn and gardern and more.

New Vision Required to Stave Off Dramatic Biodiversity Loss, Says UN Report (2010)

This article from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) discusses information put forth by the third edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook.

North American Pollutant Releases and Transfers

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) has released the report: “Taking Stock - North American Pollutant Releases and Transfers, vol. 14” on the changing face of industrial pollution in North America, covering the years 2005 through 2010. This is the first time an edition of the CEC’s Taking Stock series, which gathers data from pollutant release and transfer registers in Canada, Mexico and the United States, has analyzed North American pollutant information over an extended timeframe.

North Atlantic Right Whale Sighting Survey and Sighting Advisory System

Developed by the NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center, this interactive web tool shows where and when North Atlantic right whales are sighted. Data can be viewed in map or table format over different time periods.

Northern Bottlenose Whales

A Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada Science article that focuses on research regarding the rare Northern Bottlenose Whale.

Ocean Health Index

The Ocean Health Index is the first comprehensive, annual assessment of the benefits that a healthy ocean provides through 10 goals emphasizing the human-ocean relationship. The analysis is a collaborative effort made through contributions from more than 65 scientists/ocean experts and organization partnerships.

PEI Water Monitoring Data available

Data is provided by the Department of Environment, Labour and Justice. Users can search data concerning drinking water quality, surface water quality, groundwater levels, and stream levels.

Petitcodiac River Restoration Project

Government of New Brunswick publications concerning the Petitcodiac River Project. Here you will find the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report, aerial photos and more.

Planet Under Pressure Conference: State of the Planet Declaration, March 2012

The "Planet Under Pressure" Conference took place 26-29 March 2012 in London, UK. The conference focused on solutions to the global sustainability challenge.

The Arctic Melting Pot

In the December 16, 2010 issue of Nature, researchers argue in the article "The Arctic Melting Pot" that global warming is encouraging the formation of hybrid offspring among Arctic mammals, e.g., narwhal-beluga, bowhead-right-whale and Dall's porpoise-harbour porpoise hybrids.

Preparing for Emerging Fisheries: An Overview of Mid- Atlantic Stocks on the Move

The report “Preparing for Emerging Fisheries: An Overview of Mid-Atlantic Stocks on the Move” from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute provides an overview of fish stocks managed by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fishery Commission that have shown a northward shift of the population center. Potential opportunities and limitations for emerging fisheries within the Gulf of Maine are highlighted.

Reduction of Wind and Swell Waves by Mangroves

A new report by the Nature Conservancy and Wetlands International that focuses on mangrove forests and the role they can play in reducing wind and swell waves. Large wind and swell waves can cause flooding and damage to coastal infrastructure.

Reefs at Risk Revisited in the Coral Triangle

A report published by the The World Resources Institute (WRI). This is a map-based analysis of threats to coral reefs that focuses on the six countries of the Coral Triangle: Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste.

Right Whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (2011)

Researchers ar the Maurice Lamontagne Institute in Mont-Joli, Quebec have launched a project to explain the right whale's return to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The team is using acoustic detection, which involves recording the regular vocalizations of these whales to verify their presence in the area.

SeaStates 2013: How Well Does Your State Protect Your Coastal Waters?

The Marine Conservation Institute and Mission Blue have released “SeaStates 2013: How Well Does Your State Protect Your Coastal Waters?” The report is meant to be scientifically rigorous quantitative account of no-take marine reserves in the waters of US coastal states and territories.

Securing the Future of Mangroves

The brief, published by the UN University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, is based on the World Atlas of Mangroves and describes both the current status of mangroves, including their economic value, as well as threats to mangrove ecosystems and considerations for good management practices.

Shallow Geology, Sea-Floor Texture and Physiographic Zones

Shallow Geology, Sea-Floor Texture, and Physiographic Zones of Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts” contains geologic, sediment texture, and physiographic zone maps that characterize the seafloor of Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts.

Shallow Water Benthic Habitat Use In The Gulf Of Maine

A part of the “Greater Atlantic Region Policy Series” NOAA Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office has released “Shallow Water Benthic Habitats in the Gulf of Maine: A Summary of Habitat Use by Life Stages of Common Marine and Estuarine Species”. This report describes the importance of shallow water habitats (0-10 meters) for spawning, feeding, and growth to maturity for 16 fish and invertebrate species in the Gulf of Maine.

Shoreline change along the New England and Mid-Atlantic coasts

This 2010 report published by the USGS summarizes the methods of analysis, interprets the results, provides explanations regarding long-term and short-term trends and rates of change, and describes how different coastal communities are responding to coastal erosion.

State of the Arctic Coast 2010

This report documents the status, current and anticipated changes in the most sensitive Arctic coastal areas. It is organized into three parts: the first provides an interdisciplinary assessment of the state of the Arctic coastal systems; the second examines progress in integrative approaches to monitoring, understanding and managing change in the Arctic coastal systems; and third identifies data gaps and research priorities over the coming decade.

State of the Great Lakes Report

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has released the 2014 Michigan State of the Great Lakes Report which highlights state priorities and accomplishments in Great Lakes protection, restoration and economic development. The themes encompass Michigan's water heritage, revitalization and stewardship.

State of the Gulf of Maine

The Commercial Fisheries theme paper, part of the State of the Gulf of Maine report, is now available on the Gulf of Maine Council website. Commercial fisheries have a long history in the Gulf of Maine, with commercial fisheries established before European settlement. Fisheries are both economically and socially important, providing employment and income to rural areas of the region. Fisheries in the region are dynamic, with the relative dominance of species changing over time in response to fishing pressure, environmental conditions, and unknown factors.

State of the Scotian Shelf

The State of the Scotian Shelf Report is now also available as a Department of Fisheries and Oceans technical Report.

State of the US Ocean and Coastal Economies

The US National Ocean Economics Program (NOEP) of the Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) has released “State of the US Ocean and Coastal Economies, 2014”. The update report features highlights from the CBE-NOEP collection of data and publications showing the value of the oceans, Great Lakes and coasts of the U.S.

Status of Aquatic Habitats in the Gulf of Maine

This 2011 fact sheet released by the Gulf of Maine Council's Ecosystem Indicator Partnership (ESIP) summarizes data from the Gulf of Maine for three key indicators: eelgrass, salt marsh, and tidal restrictions. It introduces the concept of indicators as a means for tracking change and provides examples on how this habitat data can be accessed and used for planning and decision-making purposes.

Status Report on Coral and Sponge Conservation in Canada (2009)

This report provides an overview of Canada's science, policy, and legislation pertaining to coral and sponge conservation. It describes the biology, distribution and ecosystem function of corals and sponges in Canada and summarizes the various hazards to these species.  

Taking Stock: North American Pollutant Releases and Transfers (13th Edition)

Published in 2011, this report from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation provides details on intustrial pollution across North America, and features analysis on more than 228 million kilograms of pollutant releases to surface waters reported in 2006 in Canada, Mexico and the US.

Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches in the US

The report, released by the US Natural Resources Defense Council, provides a compilation of water quality data on US beaches.

The 2009 State of Nova Scotia's Coast Report: An intial study of its use and influence

The Environmental Information: Use and Influence research initiative, based at Dalhousie University, has published a study in collaboration with the Government of Nova Scotia that assessed the initial use and influence of the 2009 State of Nova Scotia's Coast Report. The study examined the effectiveness of the report's intended purpose and includes several recommendations to improve the use and influence of future reports and communication materials.

The Cost to West Coast Communities of Dealing with Trash, Reducing Marine Debris

The United States Environmental Protection Agency and Kier Associates have prepared this report to quantify the cost spent by 90 cities, large and small, in California, Oregon and Washington located along the coast or in watersheds draining to the ocean, to clean up litter and prevent trash from entering the ocean or waterways leading to it. The study finds that these West Coast communities are spending more than $520,000,000 a year to combat litter and prevent marine debris.

The global water crisis: Addressing an urgent security issue

A new book released by the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, the InterAction Council, and the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment & Health that addresses the role water must play in achieving global security through increased political and environmental stability.

The Oceans Compact: Healthy Oceans for Prosperity

The report, launched by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, seeks to support and strengthen the implementation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The Compact sets out a strategic vision, consistent with the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio 20), "The Future We Want," in which countries agreed on a range of measures to be taken to protect the oceans and promote sustainable development.

The State of Nova Scotia's Coast Report

The report gives an overview of the condition of Nova Scotia's coastal areas and resources. It serves as a baseline to determine future trends. It describes physical, ecological, and socio-economic characteristics of the coast, and examines six priority coastal issues in more detail. The Government will use the information in the Report and feedback from coastal stakeholders to develop a Sustainable Coastal Development Strategy.

Threats to the Health of the Bay of Fundy: Potential Problems Posed by Pollutants

The proceedings from this workshop organized under the auspices of the Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership's (BoFEP) Working Group on Stress and Cumulative Effects, are now available. The workshop, held in April 2010, focused on various aspects of marine ecotoxicology, with special emphasis on the impact of pesticides.

Using ecological models to assess ecosystem status in support of the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive

A new DEVOTES (Development Of innovative Tools for understanding marine biodiversity and assessing good Environmental Status), project paper titled “Using ecological models to assess ecosystem status in support of the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive” is available

Vital Water Graphics: An Overview of the State of the World's Fresh and Marine Waters

Published in 2008, the report presents an overview, through a set of graphics, maps and other illustrations, of the current state of the world’s fresh, coastal and marine waters. It illustrates the causes and effects of trends that threaten our water resources, with examples of areas of major concern and future scenarios for the use and management of fresh, coastal and marine waters.

Watershed Report

WWF Canada's Watershed Reports website is available. WWF is working to address questions about the health of Canadian rivers and watersheds, and the threats they currently face. WWF plans to complete the first Canada-wide assessment of the country’s watersheds by 2017, focusing on four indicators of river health and seven key threats. To date watershed reports for half of Canada’s watersheds have been completed

When the Atlantic Salmon Comes Home – More Than Once!

A DFO Science article about Atlantic Salmon returning to spawn in the waters of New Brunswick’s Miramichi River.

World Ocean Assessment

The WOA includes more than fifty subjects grouped within four main themes: Marine environment and understanding the ocean’s role in the global integrated Earth system; Food security and food safety; Marine biological diversity; Human activities that influence the ocean or are influenced by the ocean. The first WOA report will include a technical summary showing interdisciplinary linkages between human impacts, ecosystem services, species, and habitats. The WOA report does not appraise marine policy and governance.

World Water Development Report

The fifth edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR 2014) seeks to inform decision-makers both inside and outside the water and energy domains, stakeholders and practitioners about the interlinkages, potential synergies and trade-offs, and to highlight the need for appropriate responses and regulatory frameworks that account for both water and energy priorities. Volume 1 is titled: Water and Energy, and Volume is titled: Facing the Challenges.

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