Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission northern shrimp section sets specifications for 2013 fishery

DURHAM, N.H. — The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section approved a total allowable catch (TAC) of 625 metric tons (mt), representing a 72% reduction from last year’s quota.

The TAC is further subdivided into a research set-aside of 5.44 mt, a trawl fishery TAC of 539.02 mt, and a trap fishery TAC of 80.54 mt. Each fishery will close when 85% of its TAC is projected to be reached and a 4-day advance notice will be issued prior to the closure of each fishery. The trawl fishery will begin on January 22, 2013, with two landing days (Mondays and Wednesdays) and no trip limit. The trap fishery will begin on February 5, 2013, with six landing days (every day but Sunday) and an 800-pound trip limit.

The Section considered several factors in setting the specifications for the 2013 fishery. These include: (1) the northern shrimp stock is overfished and overfishing has been occurring for the last three years; (2) all abundance surveys are exhibiting a downward trend (since 2007 biomass has steadily declined and is currently at its lowest level); and (3) poor recruitment (shrimp entering into the fishery) in 2010 and 2011.

Northern shrimp recruitment is related to both spawning biomass and ocean temperatures, with higher spawning biomass and colder temperatures producing stronger recruitment. Ocean temperatures in the western Gulf of Maine shrimp habitat have been increasing in recent years and have reached or approached unprecedented highs in the past three years. This suggests an increasingly inhospitable environment for northern shrimp and indicates the critical need for protecting spawning biomass.

The northern shrimp fishery is jointly regulated by Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section. The cooperative management program has been in place since 1972 and is currently managed under Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Northern Shrimp. For more information, please contact Michael Waine, FMP Coordinator, at 703-842-0740 or

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