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March 31, 2017

Plan to reopen Maine shrimp fishery in the works

Courtesy / Natalie Maynor. Flickr
Courtesy / Natalie Maynor. Flickr
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission fishery managers are looking into new regulations to better manage Maine's shrimp fishery.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is seeking comment on its plan to reopen the northern shrimp fishery, which has been closed for three years.

The Arlington, Va.-based regulatory agency's plan includes options such as changing the way the quota system is managed. The agency noted that earlier proposals had considered establishing a limited entry program. The current proposal eliminates that option and focuses instead on "total allowable catch allocation programs, gear requirements, and other measures to improve management of the northern shrimp fishery and resource."

The moratorium on shrimp fishing in the Gulf of Maine began in 2014, after a steady decline in catches since 2006 and status reports showing the shrimp populations being the lowest on record in 2012 and 2013.

The value of the shrimp landings in Maine in 1998‐99 hovered at $0.96 per pound, the commission reported. It fell to $0.86 in 2001 and rose to $1.07 in 2002, before dropping precipitously to $0.37 per pound in 2006. In 2013, when landings were at a record low, the average price was $1.79.

Public hearings on the plan for Gulf of Maine shrimp fishermen will take place in Augusta on June 7; Ellsworth on June 8; Portsmouth, N.H., on June 6; and Gloucester, Mass., on June 5.

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