CONTACT:
Tina Berger, ASMFC: (202) 289-6400
Clare McBane or Jessica Fischer, NHFG: 603-868-1095
November 25, 2008

Northern Shrimp 2009 Fishing Season Set at 180 Days

DURHAM, N.H. - The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Northern Shrimp Section has approved a 180-day fishing season for the 2008-2009 northern shrimp fishery, a 28-day increase from last year's season. The season was based on favorable stock conditions -- with the resource not overfished and not experiencing overfishing -- and a recommendation of the advisory panel.

The 2009 fishing season, which is the same for mobile and trap gear, will be open seven days a week from December 1, 2008, through May 29, 2009.

"Our efforts to reduce fishing mortality in early 2000 have resulted in a high abundance of shrimp for the fishery," said Section Chair Pat White from Maine. "By approving a six-month fishing season, we hope new markets will open up for this wild-caught species."

The 2004 year-class (shrimp born that year) appeared strong in this summer's annual survey. The five-year-old shrimp will be available as a quality product to the fishery this season. The 2005 year-class is also showing up strong in the summer survey and should provide the base for next season's fishery. The 2006 year-class continues to be very weak, while the above-average (plentiful) 2007 year class showed up for the first time in the survey.

"The Section is pleased that current stock abundance supports an extension of the 2009 fishing season through most of May. However, we urge the fishery to avoid less desirable small shrimp that are often mixed with marketable larger shrimp during that month," continued White. "This will help ensure a healthy fishery in future years."

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 1 to the Northern Shrimp Fishery Management Plan. For more information, please contact Braddock Spear, Northern Shrimp Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at (202) 289-6400 or bspear@asmfc.org.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state's marine, fish and wildlife resources and their habitats.  For more information about N.H. Fish and Game's Marine Division, visit www.FishNH.com/marine.

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