Maine Shrimpers are not surprised the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission shutdown the 2014 Maine shrimp season on Tuesday.
“I wasn’t really counting on it anyway, so it wasn’t a huge shock to me, but I would like to be able to go,” said Justin Libby, a Shrimper from Port Clyde.
The lack of shrimp could still cause a financial burden for people like Glen Libby, the president of Port Clyde Fresh Catch Fishermen’s Cooperative.
“We’ve already done some projections to see what it will look like without it and it’s got a lot tighter than it usually is,” said Libby.
The cooperative president does have plans to fill the shrimp void. He said, “We’ve kind of substituted with crab, so if we can get a good steady supply of crab, we can have more people working.”
A good shrimping season can last from December through May, but that hasn’t been the case over the last few years. Now, with the cancellation of this season, boat’s that would normally be in the water are being painted.
Libby’s Son, Justin, has decided to use the shrimping season to work on Capt’n Lee.
He’s also hoping a different type of catch can get him through the winter.
“The price of scallops are pretty high, so if I can get out then I should be OK,” said Libby.
It’s unclear when or if the shrimping season will return.
Something Libby said is hurting shrimpers relationships with local businesses. “They’re scared to count on us because of this. They count on us and now they can’t, so they need to go looking. It’s just a cycle that needs to stop.”
Glen Libby said he’s not counting on shrimping coming back for the next few years.
About 85 to 90% of the annual Gulf of Maine harvest is usually caught by Maine boats.
Libby believes shrimp fishing comes in cycles, but he’s not sure what impact it will have on the state’s economy.