Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Is it possible to provide adequate protection for the Georges Bank ecosystem as oil and gas exploration begins? The fishing industry and environmentalists say "no," but it is the resource managers who are faced with the task of predicting, assessing and mitigating impacts of development while at the same time managing resources and protecting fishery habitats. Much of this responsibility falls within NOAA; however, legislative mandates and agency responsibilities and goals mean that several other federal agencies are involved as well. This paper is an attempt to describe the potential impacts of oil and gas exploration on the Georges Bank ecosystem and on the coastal zone. It also describes how these impacts are assessed or mitigated by legislative mandate through agency programs with special emphasis on NOAA.