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Wednesday, December 17, 2014 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 139 Issue 51
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home : current news : news December 17, 2014

12/4/2013 2:00:00 PM
No Shrimp Season This Winter

A shrimp season will not take place in Maine this winter as regulators react to what fishery scientists call the collapse of the shrimp population. (Photo courtesy Nancy Hanna)
A shrimp season will not take place in Maine this winter as regulators react to what fishery scientists call the collapse of the shrimp population. (Photo courtesy Nancy Hanna)
 
By J.W. Oliver

A shrimp season will not take place in Maine this winter as regulators react to what fishery scientists call the collapse of the shrimp population.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Northern Shrimp Section imposed a moratorium on the fishery Dec. 3.

The section regulates the shrimp fishery in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, but Maine accounts for most of the boats in the fishery and most shrimp landings.

The shrimp season, while brief and modest in size, with 198 boats in 2013, provides an important source of employment for Maine fishermen.

The decision of the section follows the recommendation of its technical committee, a group of scientists who evaluate the shrimp population every year.

A Nov. 21 report by the committee outlines the reasons behind the recommendation.

The committee "considers the Gulf of Maine northern shrimp stock to have collapsed with little prospect of recovery in the near future," according to the report.

The report points to high water temperatures in recent years as a factor in the decline.

"Ocean temperatures in western Gulf of Maine shrimp habitat have been increasing in recent years and have reached or approached unprecedented highs in the past three years.

"This suggests an increasingly inhospitable environment for northern shrimp and indicates the critical need for protecting remaining spawning biomass," according to the report.

The technical committee recommended a moratorium last winter, too, but the section allowed the season to go forward with a reduced quota.

Shrimp landings in 2013 totaled about 675,000 pounds, less than half of the quota and a fraction of the more than 5 million pounds harvested in 2012.





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