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Fishermen participating in sampling program fill nets

BRISTOL, ME – The season for the Maine 2017 Northern Shrimp Cooperative Winter Sampling Program began here on Jan. 30.

Not long after the sampling got underway, shrimp trawler fishermen Troy Benner, David Osier, and Arthur Poland Jr. were spotted in Muscongus Bay.

And, on Feb. 2, Benner was spotted hauling in a net full of shrimp (see photo) – a very unusual sight these days.

(See related story on next page for details on Maine fishermen chosen to participate in the program this year).

Maggie Hunter of the Maine Dept. of Marine Resources (DMR) explained that there are two purposes for the sampling program/research project:

•  The first – to continue to collect samples of northern shrimp in order to keep the time series going.  Samples have been submitted every year on shrimp and DMR wanted to continue to collect that data.  Data collected includes the timing of the egg hatch, and the size, gender, and developmental stage of the shrimp.

•  The second – to collect data on a trawler compound grate.  The shrimp trawlers participating in the sampling program are using a new, compound, size-sorting grate on 1/2 of their trips.

Shrimp trawlers will alternate every other trip using the grate.  One trip will collect shrimp without the compound grate, the next trip the trawlers will use the compound grate.

The grate’s purpose is to reduce the catch of little shrimp and exclude finfish.

DMR is also watching for the relation of the hatching and young survival of shrimp to the first plankton bloom of the spring – which provides the food the newly hatched shrimp need.

The shrimp carry their eggs from October to February and in March the eggs hatch off.

The eggs hatch off early in warm water as shrimp metabolic systems speed up in those warmer…

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