Shrimp proposal

ELLSWORTH — The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has published a proposed amendment to the plan that manages the northern shrimp fishery.

The proposal includes several options to improve the way the shrimp fishery operates and to protect a disastrously depleted resource.

Historically, the fishery has been managed through the use of an annual, industry-wide total allowable catch (TAC) available through a season of limited length.

High fishing effort and late reporting of landings by harvesters and dealers during both the 2010 and 2011 fishing seasons led the ASMFC to close both seasons early. In 2013, the ASMFC established a moratorium for the 2014 fishing season. The moratorium has been continued each year.

Amendment 3 includes several proposed options including state-by-state TAC allocations and more stringent reporting requirements. The draft amendment also explores the mandatory use of a currently optional size sorting grate systems to minimize harvest of small shrimp.

Not under consideration at this time is establishment of a system to limit entry to the shrimp fishery.

The Department of Marine Resources has scheduled public hearings on Draft Amendment 3 on Wednesday, June 7, at the DMR conference room in Augusta and on Thursday, June 8, at Ellsworth City Hall. Both hearings are scheduled for 6 p.m.

Hearings also are scheduled to be held in Portsmouth, N.H., on June 6 and in Gloucester, Mass., on June 5.

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