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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Shrimp fishermen are casting their nets with the start of New England's shrimp-fishing season.

The season got under way Wednesday, but isn't expected to last long with a quota of only 1.4 million pounds, down sharply from last year's catch of 5.3 million pounds.

Net fishermen this winter have a quota of 1.2 million pounds and can fish only two days a week.

Trap fishermen can begin pulling their shrimp traps on Feb. 5. They have a quota of 200,000 pounds.

Shrimp fishing provides a small but important winter fishery. Maine boats account for about 90 percent of the catch, with New Hampshire and Massachusetts boats catching the rest.

Scientists recommended a low quota this year because the shrimp population is in poor shape due to environmental conditions.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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