Here’s why you can’t fish for them in Gulf of Maine

Shrimp is one of the iconic New England meals.

Unfortunately, Gulf of Maine shrimp or northern shrimp (Pandalus borealis) are a cold-water species and New England is on the very southern tip of their range.

They occur from the Arctic to northern New England and are one species that is so temperature-dependent that we could use them as an indicator to detect climate changes.

Since 2014 fishing for northern shrimp has been banned in the United States. The stock in our area has decreased to the point where they are not reproducing. This is not due to overfishing; it is directly due to the temperature of the water. They have simply moved north to colder Canadian waters.

Let’s have a short biology lesson on northern shrimp. Shrimp are a crustacean, related to lobster and crabs. Like other crustaceans, they have an exoskeleton and must molt to grow. They are pink/red and have fin-like pleopods under their tail which allow them to dart swiftly away from predators and swim long distances.

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