Gulf of Maine northern shrimp fishery may face new restrictions amid declining stock, closures

Federal regulators may limit the number of fishermen allowed to catch northern shrimp in the Gulf of Maine once the depleted fishery reopens.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission closed the 2014 shrimp season for the first time in more than 30 years because shrimp populations dipped to their lowest recorded levels. The commission is now considering restrictions that could limit the number of licenses to fish for shrimp.

Regulators say the restrictions will likely be the subject of public hearings later this year and would then need commission approval.

Fishermen from Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts fish for the northern shrimp. Maine dominates the fishery and caught nearly 5 million pounds of the shrimp in 2012. The catch plummeted to about 560,000 pounds in 2013.