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Heat waters additional threaten depleted Maine shrimp fishery

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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine’s long-shuttered shrimp fishing enterprise has an opportunity to reopen within the coming winter, however the warming of the ocean threatens to maintain the trade shut down.

Maine shrimp had been as soon as a winter delicacy, however the fishery has been shut down since 2013. Scientists have mentioned environmental circumstances within the warming Gulf of Maine are inhospitable for the chilly water-loving shrimp.

An interstate regulatory board is scheduled to decide this fall about whether or not to increase a moratorium on the shrimp fishery that’s slated to finish this 12 months. Scientists haven’t seen a variety of good indicators that counsel reopening the fishery is a good suggestion, mentioned Dustin Colson Leaning, a fishery administration plan coordinator for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Fee, which regulates the enterprise.

“Taking a look at current knowledge hasn’t been very encouraging, and as , the ocean temperature is not cooling,” Leaning mentioned. “On the environmental aspect, it would not appear to be encouraging.”

A 2019 report from the Atlantic States fee discovered that the shrimp had been depleted, the variety of shrimp that had been capable of spawn was “extraordinarily low,” and “current environmental circumstances proceed to be unfavorable” for the species. New knowledge concerning the shrimp will turn into obtainable this 12 months, however will probably be restricted as a result of a variety of scientific surveys had been canceled by the coronavirus pandemic, Colson mentioned.

The shrimp are small, pink shrimp that are additionally fished by Canadian fishermen, although the Canadian product might be difficult to seek out for U.S. customers in comparison with the extra ubiquitous farmed and Gulf of Mexico shrimp that inventory grocery store freezers.

New England fishermen typically caught thousands and thousands of kilos of the fish each winter. The catch exceeded 10 million kilos in a number of years within the Nineties and topped that whole as lately as 2011 earlier than a collapse in 2013.

Maine’s fishing trade may use them again, mentioned Lester Durant, supervisor of Cundy’s Harbor Wharf in Harpswell, the place many shrimpers used to convey their catch to land.

“It was an important fishery, a pleasant product,” Durant mentioned. “We purchased a variety of shrimp there years in the past.”

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