PORTLAND, Maine — A shrimp research project will not yield extra shrimp for the public to buy this year as it has in the past.
The New England shrimp fishery has been shut down since 2013 because relatively few of the creatures are reaching maturity. But fishermen from Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts have typically participated in a sampling project that has provided a small amount of shrimp to seafood markets.
The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced that this year it will pay a shrimp trawler up to $3,450 to collect samples in the mid-coast area starting in late January. The department said in a statement that no shrimp can be kept or sold this year and that “the purpose is to collect samples.”
The state is taking applications from fishermen until Wednesday.
Regulators had approved a “research set aside” program to allow fishermen to catch about 30,000 pounds of shrimp. Some money from the sales of shrimp in such programs supports scientific research. But Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Pat Keliher has said the amount is too small to justify the expense it would create for the state.
The shrimp, sometimes called Northern shrimp, were a popular winter seafood item when they were available. They are also harvested by Canadian fishermen and are small, pinkish and somewhat sweet. Scientists have said warming ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Maine are inhospitable for the shrimp.