Portland, Maine (AP) — The American red-spotted shrimp fishery may be subject to electronic tracking requirements to protect vulnerable right whales and better understand precious crustacean populations.
A division of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, an interstate regulator, said this month that it is considering implementing federal-licensed tracking requirements for red-spotted shrimp. This rule also applies to boats harvesting Jonathan, another important New England fishery target.
Caitlin Starks, Commission’s Fisheries Management Planning Coordinator, said the tracking device would record the location of vessels in the fishery. She said it would provide regulators with better data on where the red shrimp are in the ocean.
According to Starks, the new rules could also help protect the North Atlantic right whale, which has only about 360 right whales. Whales tend to get entangled in fishing gear and can drown. They have been listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act for over 50 years and have suffered from poor reproduction and high mortality in recent years.
To protect whales, new federal regulations will soon be introduced into the red shrimp fishery. Federal officials say they will focus on reducing the number of vertical ropes in the water. They are also expected to change the restricted areas of the ocean.
“Having a better idea of where that gear is will help them estimate the risk and manage it,” Starks said. “Usually, the position of the gear in the offshore waters is expanding.”
The US red-spotted shrimp fishery is primarily based in Maine and has been performing well in Maine in recent years. Fishermen in Maine have brought more than £ 96 million (43.5 million kilograms) of red-spotted shrimp to the dock for the 11th consecutive year, after never exceeding that number.
However, fishing has collapsed in southern New England. Fishermen in New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island used to be an important part of the fishing industry, Starks said, but the stock of red-spotted shrimp in southern New England is now depleted. Scientists have linked the collapse of fishing in southern New England to warming seawater.
Meanwhile, the stock of red-spotted shrimp in Maine Bay and Georges Bank is experiencing record highs, Starks said. These are the areas where many red-spotted shrimp fishermen in northern New England harvest crustaceans in traps. The waters of Maine are warming faster than the world’s seas, leading to concerns about the future of fishing.
Tracking requirements are “the only and most important thing the American lobster committee can do to ensure the viability of the American lobster fishery,” said Dan McKiernan, chairman of the American lobster management committee in the Atlantic State. Said. He said it would help understand the stock situation of red-spotted shrimp, protect whales and prepare for the development of wind energy off New England.
Kristang Porter, president of the Main Lobsterman Association, said fishing members knew that a new chase was coming, but needed more details about it.
“It must be a system that everyone is compatible with,” Porter said. “That’s not what everyone wants to do, but we knew it would come for a while.”
A draft plan could be submitted to the board in October, Starks said. The final action could come next year, and implementation could take place in 2023, she said.
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Whales, Boat Tracking of Red Shrimp Coming to Protect Fisheries | Work
Source link Whales, Boat Tracking of Red Shrimp Coming to Protect Fisheries | Work