Shrimp samplers selected

AUGUSTA — Participants in the cooperative winter sampling program for northern shrimp in the Gulf of Maine have been announced. The program, coordinated by the Maine Department of Marine Resources, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, and Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, is designed to provide biological data on the shrimp fishery which is closed for the fourth year in a row.

These Maine fishermen were chosen from over 60 applicants based on a random drawing of those fully qualified in each region. Preference was given to trawlers willing to participate in a test of a compound grate for harvesting.

Maine shrimp trawlers are Vincent Balzano, Joseph Leask and Rob Tetrault from western Maine; Troy Benner, David Osier and Arthur Poland Jr. from mid-coast Maine; and Randy Cushman and Glenn Libby from eastern Maine.

Shrimp trappers include Chad Gamage, Daryl Chadwick, George Gilbert and Robert Tracy from mid-coast Maine; and Thomas Riedel from eastern Maine.

In response to the depleted condition of northern shrimp, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section extended the moratorium on commercial fishing for the 2017 fishing season. It also approved a 53-metric-ton research set aside (RSA) that will be used by the program to provide managers with much-needed biological data.

The sampling program will include the participation of 10 trawlers (eight Maine trawlers, one Massachusetts trawler and one New Hampshire trawler) and five Maine trappers fishing for eight weeks from mid-January to mid-March.

Trawlers will be allowed one weekly trip of and a maximum of 1,200 pounds, while trappers will have a maximum possession limit of 500 pounds per week, with a 40-trap limit per vessel.

All participants will provide shrimp samples data to the Maine DMR weekly.

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