Tough winter for Maine shrimp

Neil LaRochelle’s business is all about supply and demand.

“The demand is there,” he said. The supply, however, is not.

The owner of Always Fresh LaRochelle’s Seafood in Auburn banks on Maine shrimp to keep his customers happy during January and February.

“I rely on shrimp this time of year. People called and called and called, asking, ‘When you gonna have shrimp?'” LaRochelle said.

The first draggers of the shrimp season went out Jan. 23. The next day, LaRochelle sold 450 pounds by lunchtime.

Maine fisherman caught 5.3 million pounds of shrimp in 2012. This year they are allowed 1.38 million pounds.

They are allowed to fish two days a week, down from three a year ago.

“It’s gonna be a rough year,” said LaRochelle, who ran five pounds of shrimp specials for $25 just three years ago.

Now that same five pounds of picked shrimp would cost $50, if he had the shrimp to sell.

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