Gulf of Maine Fisheries

The New York Times published an article this week about the impact warming sea temperatures are having on cod and other fisheries in the Gulf of Maine.

In the vast gulf that arcs from Massachusetts’s shores to Canada’s Bay of Fundy, cod was once king. It paid for fishermen’s boats, fed their families and put their children through college. In one halcyon year in the mid-1980s, the codfish catch reached 25,000 tons.

Today, the cod population has collapsed. Last month, regulators effectively banned fishing for six months while they pondered what to do, and next year, fishermen will be allowed to catch just a quarter of what they could before the ban.

Shrimp Season Cancelled Again

Federal regulators have again cancelled the Maine Shrimp season. According to a report in the Press Herald,

Federal regulators are canceling the commercial fishing season for shrimp in the Gulf of Maine for a second straight year, citing a population collapse blamed partly on rising ocean temperatures.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Northern Shrimp Section voted Wednesday in Portland to cancel the upcoming winter season. Regulators say the region’s population of northern shrimp fell dramatically from 2011 to 2013.

Uni is the New Bacon & WF’s Local Forager

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes an interview with Kristen Bartlett, the Whole Foods staffer who tracks down locally made foods for the store’s shelves,

Is this a problem for her at parties? Is she swarmed by local farmers, waving organic broccoli and apple butters? Not yet, she says, though she wonders what will happen after her photo is published in Source.

and an article about Uni being declared the “new bacon” by Food & Wine magazine.

High-end restaurants in major cities have been experimenting with uni for a while, Branchina said. What’s more interesting to him is the big jump Browne Trading has seen in retail sales online: a 54 percent increase between 2012 and 2013, and so far in 2014, up 93 percent from the previous January to May.

Lifecycle of the American Eel

Today’s Maine Sunday Telegram includes a feature article on the culinary and commercial ecology of elvers.

The short-term profits for baby eels are sweet – elvers are Maine’s second most lucrative water-based resource after lobster – but the long-term potential of growing those eels out to the more valuable adults here in Maine? Much sweeter, [fisherman Don] Sprague believes. Eel might be low on the list of Mainers’ favorite foods, but that doesn’t mean more of a profit couldn’t be made from other cultures’ love for it, or from the American sushi market. Sprague spells out the equation. “That $2,000 the fisherman got?” he said. “Now you multiply it times six.”

Green Crab Invasion & Review of Eventide/Street & Co.

This week’s Portland Phoenix includes an article about the invasive green crab and the impact its having on the Maine shellfish industry,

They’re green, they’re mean, and they’re endangering not only Maine’s soft-shell clam population, but also oysters, mussels, lobsters, and eelgrass. This menace is known as the green crab (a/k/a carcinus maenas), an invasive, omnivorous species that has been in Maine for 114 years but only recently began affecting the productivity of clam flats in places like Freeport, Brunswick, and on down the coast.

The new issue also includes a review of Eventide and Street & Co.

Maine Shrimp, Mayor’s Local Food Initiative, Reader’s Response

Today’s Press Herald Food & Dining section includes an article about how home cooks and restaurants are dealing with the lack of Maine shrimp,

With so many people pining for the tiny crustaceans, I thought it would be interesting to see if there are still any frozen shrimp out there from the 2013 season for consumers to snap up before they’re gone for good. I also checked in with some Maine restaurants to see what they will be offering on their menus as an alternative to Maine shrimp.

an article about the mayor’s local food initiative,

A task force convened by Mayor Michael Brennan in 2012 is moving forward with a number of initiatives aimed at giving the city’s residents more opportunities to eat local and nutritious food. While the urban farm and flock of sheep are only in the discussion phase, work is underway to make school lunch more popular by cooking with local foods and to increase the number of community garden plots.

and a collection of reader responses to Meredith Goad’s January 1 article about her hopes for the food scene in 2014.

Fly Points & Maine Shrimp

MPBN has aired an interview with Eric Horne and Valy Steverlynk about their Flying Points oyster farm in Freeport.

Eric Horne and his wife, Valy Steverlynk (above), fire up their skiff and motor down the Royal River away from the Yarmouth marina and out into Casco Bay. It’s a cold December morning and theirs is the only boat on the water.

They’re on their way to check an oyster bed they’ve been leasing for more than 10 years. After a bone-chilling five-minute trip, they arrive at the site, where they hope to collect about 500 oysters.

Working Waterfront has published a report that explores the possible causes of the collapse of the Maine shrimp fishery.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission did not close this fishery simply because the population was low, but more because we don’t seem to have enough baby shrimp to build a future upon. It was determined by managers that to give this stock the best chance for recovery we needed to leave all the shrimp now in the water in the hope that they spawn and produce abundant offspring.

Hugo’s Chefs on Maine Shrimp

MPBN has interviewed chefs Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley about the cancellation of this year’s Maine shrimp season.

Wiley says shrimp have been scarce the last couple of years, but to have to take them off the menu this winter is disappointing.

“It means one less exciting local product to work with,” Wiley says. “That’s certainly a bit of a drag, but we’d like to see Maine shrimp on menus 10 years from now more than we need to have it on the menu this upcoming year.”

Maine Shrimp Season Cancelled (Updated)

The Bangor Daily News is reporting that regulators have cancelled the 2013-2014 Maine shrimp season.

Northeastern regulators shut down the Gulf of Maine shrimp fishery for the first time in 35 years Tuesday afternoon, worried by reports of what researchers called a fully “collapsed” stock that could be driven to near extinction with any 2014 catch.

Update: You’ll also want to read the article in Wednesday’s Press Herald.