Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

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.

Plastic pollution lines a Singapore beach. Vaidehi Shah/ CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

Our plastic pollution problem has reached new heights and new depths.

Scientists have found bits of plastic on the seafloor, thousands of feet below the ocean's surface. Plastic debris has also washed ashore on remote islands; traveled to the top of pristine mountains; and been found inside the bodies of whales, turtles, seabirds and people, too.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A large loggerhead with other injuries washed ashore during the latest cold-stunning event and was treated at New England Aquarium. New England Aquarium

Hundreds of endangered sea turtles were stranded on beaches after suffering "cold stunning" in the waters off Cape Cod, Mass. Local rescuers and wildlife rehabilitators stabilized the turtles at the New England Aquarium (NEAQ) and National Marine Life Center and began treatment. Many of the sea turtles were transported by land or air to partner facilities around the Eastern Seaboard for longer-term care to make room for more incoming, cold-stunned animals.

Read More Show Less

Trending

On Dec. 21, Jupiter and Saturn will be so closely aligned that they will appear as a "double planet." NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory / YouTube

The night sky has a special treat in store for stargazers this winter solstice.

Read More Show Less
Rough handling can result in birds becoming injured before slaughter. Courtesy of Mercy for Animals

By Dena Jones

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was sued three times this past summer for shirking its responsibility to protect birds from egregious welfare violations and safeguard workers at slaughterhouses from injuries and the spread of the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
A view of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during Arctic Bird Fest on June 25, 2019. Lisa Hupp / USFWS

By Julia Conley

Conservation campaigners on Thursday accused President Donald Trump of taking a "wrecking ball" to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as the White House announced plans to move ahead with the sale of drilling leases in the 19 million-acre coastal preserve, despite widespread, bipartisan opposition to oil and gas extraction there.

Read More Show Less