Canada-U.S. Transboundary Resources Steering Committee


The objective of the Canada-United States (U.S.) Transboundary Resources Steering Committee, or 'Steering Committee', is to ensure bi-annual discussion between Canada and the United States on transboundary integrated ecosystem management issues associated with the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank marine environment. It strives to develop complementary and integrated approaches that can be implemented domestically, as required by both countries.

The Steering Committee is comprised of Canadian co-chair Doug Wentzell, Regional Director General Maritimes Region, and U.S. co-chair Michael Pentony, Greater Atlantic Regional Administrator of NOAA Fisheries. Additional delegation members serve as advisors at the invitation of the co-chairs.

Advisors generally include the following:
Canadian DelegationU.S. Delegation
Industry co-chairs of Gulf of Maine Advisory Committee (GOMAC)Chair of the New England Fishery Management Council (NEMFC)
 Executive Director of the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC)
TRAC representativeTRAC representative
DFO Representatives on TMGCNOAA Fisheries Management representative on TMGC
Industry co-chair of TMGCCo-chair of TMGC
Co-chair of Oceans Working GroupCo-chair of Oceans Working Group
Co-chair of Habitat Working GroupCo-chair of Habitat Working Group
Co-chair of Species at Risk Working GroupCo-chair of Species at Risk Working Group
Integration Committee membersIntegration Committee members
Integration Committee Project ManagerNortheast Fisheries Science Center Director
Special Advisors as requiredSpecial Advisors as required

History of the Bilateral Steering Committee

The Canada - United States (U.S.) Transboundary Resources Steering Committee was established in 1995 to promote a collaborative approach to fisheries resource management in the Gulf of Maine. This committee is representative of the firm commitment Canada and U.S. have each made to the principles that underscore ecosystem based management. The Steering Committee, and its associated working groups and committees will help each country move towards their respective domestic conservation and protection agendas while each pursues sustainable economic policies.

Recognition of the importance of bilateral cooperation in fisheries resource management in these waters was shaped by several important events. In 1984, the International Court of Justice delineated the maritime boundary that separates Canadian and U.S. waters in the Gulf of Maine. During the 1980s, increased cross-boundary fishing effort on Georges Bank prompted officials from both countries to consider complementary approaches to resource management and enforcement. The 1990 Canada-U.S. Fisheries Enforcement Agreement was signed as a result, and supports efforts to prosecute unauthorized fishing on both sides of the boundary. On-going discussions led to a series of regional bi-lateral discussions which eventually culminated in the creation of the Canada-U.S. Steering Committee in 1995.

Under the leadership of the SC, several initiatives have been undertaken. Scientific collaboration was formalized in 1998 with the creation of the Transboundary Resource Assessment Committee (TRAC). In 2000, the Transboundary Management Guidance Committee (TMGC) was established. It provides a mechanism whereby sustainable harvest strategies for groundfish stocks that straddle the maritime boundary can be developed. The TMGC process led to the 2003 resource sharing agreement for cod, haddock and yellowtail flounder on Georges Bank.

In the early-to-mid 2000s, the SC broadened its scope to include additional working groups related to integrated marine management. These groups were: Species at Risk (2003); Habitat (2004); and an ad-hoc Oceans Working Group (2005). In 2005, the Steering Committee instituted the Integration Committee (IC) to function as the operational arm of the Steering Committee. The IC's primary function is to integrate and support the working group processes in order to facilitate integrated Ecosystem-Based Management in the Gulf of Maine.

For further details on the Canada-U.S. transboundary approach, including the role of the Integration Committee, please refer to the Canada-U.S. Regional Transboundary Guidance document (September 19, 2005).