December 9, 2013
NOBLEBORO — Behind Tim Simmons’ house, down a hill past piles of coiled rope and brightly painted bundles of lobster buoys, sit 100 shrimp traps.
The traps – some purple, some black, all relatively new – will remain unused this winter for the first time in the 14 years Simmons has been shrimping in the Gulf of Maine.
“It’s hard to have them sitting there not making money,” Simmons said Thursday, three days after regulators announced there will be no 2014 season.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission last week voted to close the Gulf of Maine to shrimping after a harvest last winter that was the smallest since the last fishery shutdown in 1978.
Fishermen say they are disappointed but not surprised.
Last summer, a survey indicated the northern shrimp stock was at its lowest level since 1984, when annual trawl surveys began. A November report from the commission’s Northern Shrimp Technical Committee concluded the stock has collapsed, in part because of warming ocean temperatures.