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December 3, 2012

Panel to set dates of New England shrimp season

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Commercial fishing regulators are meeting in Maine to determine the dates of the upcoming northern shrimp season, or if there will even be a season.

An Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission panel is meeting today in Portland to set the season.

In an assessment of the shrimp population, an ASMFC committee is calling for a shrimp-fishing moratorium this winter. If a season is allowed, the committee says it shouldn't start until at least half of the shrimp have hatched their eggs, typically around mid-February.

Shrimp provide a small, but valuable, fishery for New England fishermen. Last winter, 276 boats from Maine and 33 from New Hampshire and Massachusetts, including several from Gloucester, harvested shrimp.

Regulators set the season each year based on scientific surveys of the highly variable shrimp population.

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