According to the Rockland Courier Gazette, Maine's 2014 shrimping season, slated to start in January, has been cancelled - along with the rest of New England. Culprits: overfishing, acid pollution, warming water, three years of mass hatch failure
2015 Shrimp Season Cancelled.
By Juliette Laaka, Courier Gazette - Knox Village Soup 12/3/13
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Northern Shrimp Section voted Dec. 3 to cancel the 2014 shrimp season due to a collapse of the stock, confirmed the organization's Director of Communications Tina Berger.
|Commercial fishery plus 3 years of hatch failures = collapse.|
"The writing has been on the wall for years," said Port Clyde Fresh Catch owner and former shrimp fisherman Glen Libby in response to the decision. He said he is not surprised, and added fishermen who went out last year did not earn much money.
"We are affected though, there's no shrimp to peel," he said.
Libby's company processes shrimp, and said during the winter, crabs will be the fill-in for his business. He added fishermen will most likely shift to catching scallops and continue fishing for lobster and crabs if they have the necessary permits.
He said the fishery will correct itself, citing the last year-long shutdown resulted in an increase in stock numbers.
|The Last Tow? ASMFC: shrimpers must stay in port in 2014|
Last year's season, which began in late January, yielded about a quarter of the allowable catch allotted the previous year, 1.4 million pounds. The commission's technical committee recommended not having a 2013 season due to over fishing and environmental stresses on the stock, but a shorter season with less yield was allowed.
Surveys indicate three successive years of recruitment failure and continuing warm temperatures mean poor prospects for the near future, both in terms of the fishery and for stock recovery. A season shut down is recommended to maximize spawning potential of the population.
The Gulf of Maine fishery for northern shrimp is managed through an interstate agreement between the states of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusett.