ELLSWORTH — Meetings to discuss the future of Maine’s shrimp fishery are set for this month around the state, including one March 24 at 3 p.m. at the Ellsworth City Hall.
Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Commissioner Patrick Keliher and External Affairs Director Terry Stockwell hope to gather input from industry members on several alternatives for the future of the fishery, according to a DMR statement. Stockwell is also chair of the New England Fishery Management Council.
The Atlantic States Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section decided to cancel the 2016 fishing season last fall, but approved a limited winter sampling program.
The sampling program is intended to maintain a continuing record of biological data collected from the northern shrimp commercial fishery. A handful of harvesters are landing up to a total of 22 metric tons (about 48,000 pounds) of shrimp under a “research set aside quota” and are allowed to sell the catch.
Most of the sales are directly from fishermen to restaurants or consumers – peddler sales – because the landings volume is too low to make it financially worthwhile for most processors to get involved. Maine buyers must have a DMR shrimp permit or special license to participate.