Shrimp season closure will hit many coastal businesses

7:57 PM, Dec 10, 2013   |    comments
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PORT CLYDE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Last week's decision to cancel the winter's shrimp fishing season will be felt all along the Maine coast. Several hundred fishermen work the boats that catch the shrimp.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources says last year's limited season included 153 trawlers and 44 so-called "trappers" -- lobster boats that catch shrimp in special traps instead of trawler nets.

However, many people besides fishermen will feel the loss of the seasons on shore.

In the village of Port Clyde, shrimp fishing has traditionally been a vital source of income during the winter. Port Clyde is home to Maine's largest trawler fleet outside of Portland. Shrimp have also been a big source of income for Port Clyde Fresh Catch, a local fishermen-owned co-op. Manager Glen Libby and his brother Gary, who is a fisherman himself, say the closing of the shrimp season will mean more than a dozen people won't get hired to process the shrimp at Fresh Catch. They say those people then won't have the money to spend at area business.

Together with fishermen, truck drivers and others involved in the fishery, they say a range of local businesses will feel the loss. Other parts of the coast say they will experience the same sort of losses, from small fishing harbors all the way to Portland, where the biggest processing plants are located.

Fishermen and scientists say shrimp populations won't recover until ocean water temperatures cool down. Scientists say the Gulf of Maine has been getting steadily warmer, and that has had a big impact on shrimp, which need cold water to live.


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