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Though they already face reduced catch limits and fewer fishing days, some Maine shrimp fishermen might also have to use certain gear modifications when they trawl for the crustacean, according to officials.

But Patrick Keliher, acting commissioner of Maine’s Department of Marine Resources, said Wednesday that he hopes to convince federal officials to make shrimp boats exempt from the gear requirement, which also applies to groundfish vessels. The rule requires shrimp trawlers in the far western Gulf of Maine to use 12-inch “rock hopper” bumpers on their nets, which are designed to keep fishing nets from getting caught on rocks or in soft ocean bottom.

Keliher said he learned in late December, only days before the Gulf of Maine shrimp season started on 2 January that federal regulators were planning to enforce the rule this season. He sent a letter 30 December to the regional National Marine Fisheries Service office in Gloucester, Mass., asking federal regulators to delay enforcement of the rule until next winter.

“Adding this new requirement to the industry and to the state managed fishery process at the eleventh hour is unacceptable,” Keliher wrote in the letter.

NMFS officials contacted Tuesday and Wednesday did not provide any response or comment on the issue by Wednesday evening.

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Seafood Expo Global

21-23 April 2015
Brussels, Belgium

Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global is the largest seafood trade event in the world. The event attracts more than 25,800 buyers and suppliers of fresh, frozen, packaged and value-added seafood products, equipment and services. Attendees travel from 150 countries to do business at the expo. Read More