In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, February 3

As of November, Maine lobster exports to China were valued at $27.5 million. Photo credit: Josh Cummings.

  • Maine lobster exports to China skyrocketed last year, although final numbers are not yet available. As of November, exports were valued at $27.5 million. In November 2015, export value was only $10.2 million. Excluding exports to Canadian processors, Maine exports nearly half of its live lobsters to China. The Maine Marketing Lobster Collaborative has also reported an increase in Asian-flavored lobster dishes on American menus.
  • ASMFC regulators may change the quota for Maine’s elver fishery. They decided to review the quota before the 2018 fishing year. The current quota is 9,700 pounds. In 2015, elvers were values at over $2,000 per pound.
  • The New England Fishery Management Council unanimously voted to double the catch limit for witch flounder at its recent meeting in Portsmouth, NH. In 2017, the annual catch limit will be 839 metric tons. Fishermen are happy to see this increase after catch limits were drastically cut from 60,000 pounds to 400 pounds in 2010.
  • Maine State Representative Brian Hubbell has proposed bills to reduce lobster conflict between Zones B and C. One proposed solution would be to end double tagging after an effective date. Another would be to reduce the percentage of traps that are allowed to fish in a second zone from 49 to 25 percent. A different bill proposed by State Rep. Walter Kumiega would extend the amount of time each day the fishermen are allowed to work in October.
  • The Portland Press Herald recently highlighted one Maine fishermen Tim Rider who hopes to promote more rod-and-reel fishing in the groundfish fishery. He says that there is no bycatch, it protects the ocean floor, and the chance for overfishing is small. Rider catches around 800 pounds per day and sells directly to restaurants. Read more about him and his operation here.
  • ASMFC voted to ask for public comment on a handful options meant to help southern New England’s lobster stock. The population there has been decreasing. Some fishermen claimed at the meeting that they should not have to restrict fishing if they are not the ones causing the problem. ASMFC could select new measures in May, which would start another comment period.
  • ASMFC also voted to ask for public comment on new ways to manage the Atlantic herring fishery, after the fishery encountered supply issues last summer. As reported by the Portland Press Herald, “fishing managers say they want to stretch out the amount of herring that fishermen catch over the course of the year so there is less chance of a sudden shortage.”
  • The study on northern shrimp populations is now underway. Eight shrimp trawlers and five shrimp trappers are participating in the study to collect biological data on the shrimp. Fishermen will be able to sell some of their catch, even though the fishery has been closed for four years.

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