Maine shrimp catch limit slashed deeply

The catch limit for shrimp trawlers in the Gulf of Maine will be reduced to 625 metric tons in the 2013 season, nearly a quarter of what it was this year, and boats will only be able to go out fishing on Mondays and Wednesdays. The season for trawlers will begin on Jan. 22, while the season for shrimp trappers will begin Feb. 5, with six landings days and an 800-pound limit.

The decision to limit the catch was made by the three-member Northern Shrimp Section of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission during a Monday afternoon meeting in Portland.

Six hundred and twenty-five metric tons is equal to nearly 1.4 million pounds. Given there are roughly 250 shrimp boats operating in the Gulf of Maine — about 225 of those are from Maine — that catch around 2,000 pounds a trip, that means the catch limit could be reached in a matter of days, said Angelo Ciocca, president of Nova Seafoods in Portland. Last season, fishermen received about 95 cents a pound for their shrimp catch.

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