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Scientists Again Recommend Moratorium On Maine Shrimp Fishery

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
Northern shrimp lay on snow aboard a trawler in the Gulf of Maine in Jan. 2012.

Coveted Maine shrimp are likely off the menu again in 2018.

For the fifth straight year, federal scientists are recommending a moratorium on commercial fishing of northern shrimp in the Gulf of Maine. The small, sweet-tasting invertebrates’ numbers and biomass in the gulf have been dropping steadily, reaching their lowest recorded level this year, according to Max Appelman, who coordinates the fishery’s management for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

“We haven’t seen consecutive low values like this in the history of this fishery. So, somewhat unprecedented, where we are right now,” he says.

The species is highly sensitive to water temperatures, and Appelman says the steady warming of the gulf could lead to its extirpation off New England. He adds, however, that the species remains abundant farther north.

The Commission’s board will vote on the recommended moratorium at the end of this month.

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.