Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Shrimp Fishing Banned in Gulf of Maine Due to Ocean Warming

Food
Shrimp Fishing Banned in Gulf of Maine Due to Ocean Warming

Warming ocean waters in New England have caused shrimp populations to fall so low that shrimp fishing in the Gulf of Maine has been banned for the 2014 season.

That means the small Maine shrimp sold by stores and served by restaurants will get scarce or disappear entirely. Often called bay shrimp or pink shrimp, the small tails are typically used in salads. The shrimp are often sold frozen and are available across the U.S. and around the world.

Illustration credit: Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section, which represents Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, last week approved the moratorium after an assessment showed the northern shrimp stock is overfished.

The situation is so dire that it's possible the ban could be extended for more than a year. The Section considers the stock to have completely collapsed with little prospect of recovery in the near future.

Many fish in the Gulf of Maine are not surviving long enough to mature—a process called recruitment—due to increasing water temperatures and a decline in phytoplankton, which comprises the shrimp's diet, the Section said.

“Given the overwhelming evidence of recruitment failure and stock collapse and continuing unfavorable environmental conditions, the Section felt it was necessary to close the 2014 fishery to protect the remaining spawning biomass and allow as much hatch to take place as possible,” Terry Stockwell, the Northern Shrimp Section chairman, said.

“When environmental conditions are poor, the ability of the stock to withstand fishing pressure is reduced," Stockwell said. "With the stock at all time lows and only failed year classes to come, there is even greater loss of resilience for this stock.”

Northern shrimp stocks in other areas of the world like Greenland, Flemish Cap and Grand Banks have also seen decreasing trends in abundance and recruitment, providing additional evidence that environmental conditions are impacting northern shrimp across their range.

Northern shrimp populations in the western Gulf of Maine has declined steadily since 2006 and stands at the lowest in recent history. Although the 2013 season was classified as a “do no harm” fishery, the fishing mortality rate was still above the target—even though only 49 percent of the total allowable catch was harvested.

The commission serves as a deliberative body of the Atlantic coastal states, coordinating the conservation and management of nearshore fishery resources.

Visit EcoWatch’s FOOD page for more related news on this topic.

One report in spring 2020 found that 38% of students at four-year universities were food-insecure. Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images

By Matthew J. Landry and Heather Eicher-Miller

When university presidents were surveyed in spring of 2020 about what they felt were the most pressing concerns of COVID-19, college students going hungry didn't rank very high.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Coast Guard members work to clean an oil spill impacting Delaware beaches. U.S. Coast Guard District 5

Environmental officials and members of the U.S. Coast Guard are racing to clean up a mysterious oil spill that has spread to 11 miles of Delaware coastline.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Plain Naturals offers a wide variety of CBD products including oils, creams and gummies.

Plain Naturals is making waves in the CBD space with a new product line for retail customers looking for high potency CBD products at industry-low prices.

Read More Show Less
What happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years? Halfpoint / Getty Images

By Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie

Of all the plastic we've ever produced, only 9% has been recycled. So what happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years?

Read More Show Less
Donald Trump and Joe Biden arrive onstage for the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 22, 2020. JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images

Towards the end of the final presidential debate of the 2020 election season, the moderator asked both candidates how they would address both the climate crisis and job growth, leading to a nearly 12-minute discussion where Donald Trump did not acknowledge that the climate is changing and Joe Biden called the climate crisis an existential threat.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch