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Northern shrimp season canceled for 2017

Nov 15, 2016

Portsmouth, N.H. — In response to the depleted condition of the northern shrimp resource, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section extended the moratorium on commercial fishing for the 2017 fishing season. The Section also approved a 53 metric ton research set aside to allow for the continued collection of biological data.

The 2016 Stock Status Report for Gulf of Maine Northern Shrimp indicates abundance and biomass indices for 2012 through 2016 are the lowest on record of the 33-year time series. Recruitment indices for the 2010 through 2015 year classes are also poor and include the three smallest year classes on record. As a result, the 2012 through 2016 indices of harvestable biomass are the lowest on record. Current harvestable biomass is almost entirely composed of the 2013 year class.

“By increasing the 2017 RSA, which is above last year’s 22 mt quota and that recommended by the Technical Committee for 2017 (13.6 mt), the Section sought to strike a balance between providing limited fishing opportunities to the industry while collecting valuable data to allow for the continued monitoring of the northern shrimp resource,” stated Section Chair Dennis Abbott of New Hampshire.

Recruitment of northern shrimp is related to both spawning biomass and ocean temperatures, with higher spawning biomass and colder temperatures producing stronger recruitment. Ocean temperatures in western Gulf of Maine shrimp habitat have increased over the past decade and reached unprecedented highs within the past several years. This suggests an increasingly inhospitable environment for northern shrimp and the need for strong conservation efforts to help restore and maintain a fishable stock. The Northern Shrimp Technical Committee considers the stock to be in poor condition with limited prospects for the near future. The 2016 Stock Status Report is available at asmfc.org/uploads/file/5823782c2016NorthernShrimpAssessment.pdf.

 

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