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Stock ‘collapse’ prompts 2014 shrimp moratorium

PORTLAND, ME – Faced with a stock that scientists said had technically “collapsed,” the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Northern Shrimp Section met here Dec. 3 and agreed by consensus to impose a moratorium on shrimp fishing for the 2014 season.

The section took this extreme action after receiving a grim stock assessment update from its Northern Shrimp Technical Committee (TC).

One of the “better” tows from the 2013 Gloria Michelle shrimp survey.  Dogfish, redfish, and whiting dominated many hauls, with shrimp being few and far between.  Overall, 13% of the tows caught no shrimp at all, and 52% caught less than 100 shrimp.  During the 1984-2011 surveys, fewer than 1% of the tows caught zero shrimp and, on average, only 6% caught less than 100 shrimp. (Heidi Marotta/NEFSC photo)

One of the “better” tows from the 2013 Gloria Michelle shrimp survey.  Dogfish, redfish, and whiting dominated many hauls, with shrimp being few and far between.  Overall, 13% of the tows caught no shrimp at all, and 52% caught less than 100 shrimp.  During the 1984-2011 surveys, fewer than 1% of the tows caught zero shrimp and, on average, only 6% caught less than 100 shrimp. (Heidi Marotta/NEFSC photo)

According to the TC, indices of harvestable biomass from this summer’s Gloria Michelle survey were the “lowest on record.”  Furthermore, results indicated that “an unprecedented” three consecutive years of “recruitment failure” had occurred.

“There basically are three missing year classes – 2010, 2011, and 2012,” said TC Chairman Kelly Whitmore of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.  “This does not bode well for the ability of the stock to bounce back in the next few years.”

 

CFN_1_14coverRead the rest and much, much more in the January issue of Commercial Fisheries News.

Read online immediately and download for future reference.

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