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December 1, 2017

Despite Maine's objections, no shrimp harvesting for another year

Photo / TIM GREENWAY
Photo / TIM GREENWAY
Despite the objections of Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted to continue its closure of the shrimp fishery in the Gulf of Maine for another year.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's shrimp board has voted to ban shrimp fishing in the Gulf of Maine for another year.

The Bangor Daily News reported that Maine's representatives on the board, Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher and Long Island fisherman Steve Train, voted against the continued moratorium on the northern shrimp fishery, which has been in place since 2013 due to declining stocks.

Keliher told the BDN via email that a catch limit of fewer than 500,000 pounds would have done "no harm" to the fishery while providing economic opportunity to fishermen.

In a related development, Maine Public reported that Maine has declined to participate in a research set-aside program that allows fishermen to catch about 30,000 pounds of shrimp this coming winter, with a portion of revenues going to scientific research. Keliher said that amount is too small to justify the expense it would create for the state.

The winter shrimp fishery in the Gulf of Maine was once lucrative. But even with the moratorium, the resource's turnaround remains in doubt.

"The last several surveys have been very disappointing, with below average recruitment," Maggie Hunter, a marine resource scientist at the state Department of Marine Resources, told The Working Waterfront in April.

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