Efforts to manage herring quota create bait crisis;

Maine DMR takes emergency action, explains why

If you walked down any dock or into any diner where fishermen gather, you already know that the talk in early July was all about bait.  More specifically the potential lack of it and the impact on bait prices.

On July 8, Meredith Mendelson, Maine Dept. of Marine Resources (DMR) deputy commissioner, explained why the DMR had made what many felt were drastic changes to bait availability.

“We’re experiencing what we hope will be a temporary bait shortage, the result of the fact that the trawlers operating offshore on George’s Bank (Area 3), have landed very little from Area 3 thus far this season.  Normally at this time of year, the bait supply comes from both Area 3 and Area 1A, which is the inshore area out to about 40 miles in the Gulf of Maine.

“Additionally, the trawlers that are normally operating offshore have been coming inshore to serve as carriers for the purse seine fleet, so we’re seeing additional capacity inshore.   And in June we were seeing landings pick up a little faster than we’d normally like to see for the 1A quota – because we want to stretch that quota out throughout the summer.

“We wanted to slow down those landings a bit and our initial efforts to slow it down were not sufficient, so we took another action to limit both harvesting and landing to…

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