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Winter 2023 GOMSWG Meeting - March (TBD)

The winter 2023 GOMSWG Meeting will be held in March at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in Bangor, Maine. Informal discussion and presentations focus on regional population trends, research projects, and management issues. Contact with agenda items or for more information

December 2022 through February 2023

Audubon's Project Puffin and Maine Coastal Islands NWR accepted applications for seabird island technicians, interns, and contractors

Website Management

Funding for this website was graciously donated by Friends of Maine Coastal Islands NWR, a non-profit dedicated to supporting Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge and seabird conservation in the Gulf of Maine. For more information about FOMCI or to join the group, go to

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Our mission

The Gulf of Maine Seabird Working Group (GOMSWG) is a partnership between public and private organizations dedicated to restoring and protecting seabirds in the Gulf of Maine.

GOMSWG participants have worked together to guide seabird restoration on offshore islands. Two meetings are held annually to discuss conservation issues, new research findings, and the status of breeding colonies

About Our Group

Most attendees of GOMSWG meetings are individuals and organizations actively engaged in managing or studying Gulf of Maine seabirds, although there are no formal requirements to participate. Regular attendees include representatives from the Canadian Wildlife Service, College of the Atlantic, Maine Audubon Society, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), National Audubon Society, University of New Brunswick, the University of Maine, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Contact information for many meeting attendees can be found on the Links page of this website.

The Formation of GOMSWG

Libby Island
Libby Island, USFWS

Many species of colonial nesting seabirds were largely extirpated from Maine in the late 1800s due to over-exploitation. Seabirds and their eggs were used for food and bait and some species were harvested to provide feathers for the growing millinery trade. When these activities were halted with the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, seabirds in Maine began to recover.

Some species have recovered more quickly than others. As a result of open landfills, gull populations in Maine increased from 10,000 pairs in the early 1900's to 100,000 pairs in the late 1970's. Herring and black-backed gulls are effective predators of tern eggs and young and their presence can lead to complete nesting failure or island abandonment by many species of seabirds. It was clear to wildlife managers and biologists that management was required to ensure the recovery of all seabird species in the Gulf of Maine.

Biologists met to discuss the recovery of terns in 1977 and drafted a plan that included population objectives, research needs, and management strategies. This group began to meet regulary and became the current Gulf of Maine Seabird Working Group. Through the cooperative efforts of the Gulf of Maine Seabird Working Group, diverse seabird colonies have been restored on a number of islands.

Gulf of Maine Seabirds
Artist: Ram Papish