More than a dozen Maine fishermen will participate in a cooperative winter sampling program for northern shrimp in the Gulf of Maine, the Maine Department of Marine resources announced Thursday.

Despite the moratorium on Maine shrimp, regulators are allowing almost 117,000 pounds to be landed as part of sampling research. NOAA photo.Regulators have closed the commercial northern shrimp fishery for the fourth consecutive year in an effort to rebuild stocks. The sampling program offers a 53-metric-ton research set aside to provide fishery managers with biological data, including size composition and egg-hatch timing. 

Under the sampling program, regulators are allowing eight participating trawlers and five trappers to sell their shrimp catch. 

Maine harvesters chosen include trawlers 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.

Each trawler will be required to collect samples each week in one of three regions being tested, and will be allowed to land and sell up to 1,200 pounds of shrimp per trip. They will be allowed to operate beginning in mid- to late January for eight weeks, fishing once a week.

Trappers (traditionally lobstermen) will collect shrimp samples in two regions of the Maine coast beginning Jan. 30, 2017, once a week, for eight weeks until March 26. Each trapper will be allowed to fish up to 40 traps, hauled as often as necessary during the project. Participants will be allowed to land and sell up to 500 pounds of shrimp per week.

There is no additional compensation for participating in the sampling program in addition to selling their catch.

Jessica Hathaway is the former editor in chief of National Fisherman.

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