PORTLAND, Maine — The stability of the dogfish population off the coast of New England is not in jeopardy despite a recent survey that found less of the fish off of Maine and New Hampshire than in previous years.
The little sharks, which range from Labrador to Florida and are most abundant from Nova Scotia to Cape Hatteras, N.C., are still abundant in New England’s waters, according to scientists and fishermen.
Dogfish made up only a third of a percent of Maine’s fall 2013 trawl survey of species off of Maine and New Hampshire, down from a high of nearly 42 percent in 2004.
Federal regulators say the fishes are actually growing in abundance. James Armstrong, who manages the species for the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, said they are estimated to exceed their target level by 33 percent. And James Sulikowski, a biologist with the University of New England who studies the species, said there are about 230,000 metric tons of spawning dogfish in the Gulf of Maine, a nearly five-fold increase from 10 years ago.
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