Fishing for shrimp in the Gulf of Maine has been cancelled for 2014. There are only about 5% of the normal number of shrimp left in the Gulf, and regulators say the stock needs to rebuild.
The closure of the shrimp fishery has been on the horizon for years: since 2006 the abundance of the little crustaceans in the Gulf of Maine has been declining. Last year shrimpers only managed to catch 307 tons, compare that to 9,500 tons in 1996.
“You know, the stock is collapsed,” says Tina Berger, spokesperon for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. She says regulators aren’t even sure the gulf will be open for shrimping again in 2015. “We’re looking at a tough couple-to-few years in this fishery.”
While the fishery has been ruled as “overfished,” regulators also acknowledge an increase in predators and a decrease in the phytoplankton that shrimp eat (due perhaps to warming waters) have contributed to the decline.