It’s Shrimp Season in Maine, Minus the Shrimp

In 2014, the Maine shrimp fishery was closed down in the hopes that the shrimp would make a comeback.

Sitting between Glen Libby’s desk at Port Clyde Fresh Catch and the armchair where his brother’s old dog, Red, likes to nap are two boxes full of “The Original Maine Shrimp Cookbook.” This slim spiral-bound volume includes contributions from various members of the brothers’ immediate family, whose shrimping history dates back nearly four decades in this coastal town about two hours northeast of Portland.

Mr. Libby loves the small, delicate Northern shrimp, known fondly here as Maine shrimp, and so do customers at his processing and distribution plant. He bought $700 worth of the books to sell.

“I have sold two,” Mr. Libby said.

He is unlikely to sell many more. Not long after the cookbook was published in 2009, its central ingredient began vanishing from Maine’s waters. In 2014, regulators closed the shrimp fishery (the term that encompasses both the fishing grounds and those who work there). The hope was that the struggling species would replenish itself if left undisturbed.

So far, according to scientists who survey the Gulf of Maine annually, it hasn’t.

Photo: Nicolai Berntsen/Unsplash

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