PORTSMOUTH, NH – For the third time since 2011, fishermen will have a chance to weigh in on whether or not the northern shrimp fishery should come under limited entry.
During a June 4 meeting here, the Northern Shrimp Section of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) voted to initiate Draft Amendment 3 to the interstate shrimp plan to consider putting constraints on the number of boats that can participate in the future.
“I think the time is right,” said section Chairman Mike Armstrong of Massachusetts. “We’re currently overcapitalized, and we need to better match the size of the fishery with what the stock can produce.”
The section imposed a fishing moratorium on the 2014 season after the Northern Shrimp Technical Committee (TC) reported in December that indices of harvestable biomass from the 2013 Gloria Michelle survey were the “lowest on record.” Furthermore, the TC said the 2010, 2011, and 2012 year classes had experienced “recruitment failure” (see CFN January 2014 for details).
With no one currently fishing, Armstrong said the lull was giving everyone a chance to take a deep breath and revisit the prospect of limited entry, which, in the past, has deeply divided industry.
After the section voted to impose the 2014 moratorium, it then asked the Northern Shrimp Plan Development Team (PDT) to determine the number of vessels the fishery could support under harvest levels of 3,000 metric tons (mt) to 4,000 mt, which is roughly equivalent to 6.6 million to 8.8 million pounds…
Read the rest and much, much more in the July issue of Commercial Fisheries News.
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