January 21, 2013

New England shrimp season begins this week

The start of the season begins Wednesday, but isn't expected to last long with a quota that's about one-fourth of last year's catch.

The Associated Press

PORTLAND — New England's shrimp-fishing season gets under way this week.

The start of the season begins Wednesday, but isn't expected to last long with a quota of only 1.4 million pounds. That's about one-fourth last year's catch of 5.3 million pounds.

Net fishermen have a quota of about 1.2 million pounds and can fish only two days a week.

Trap fishermen have a quota of about 200,000 pounds. Their season begins Feb. 5.

Regulators last month set a short season with a low quota after scientists warned that the Gulf of Maine shrimp population is in poor shape due to environmental conditions.

Shrimp fishing provides a small but important winter fishery. Maine fishermen catch about 90 percent of the harvest, with New Hampshire and Massachusetts fishermen accounting for the rest.

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