2013 commercial fishing value increases by $2 million
Recently issued 2013 reports for Maine’s commercially harvested marine resources reveal an increase in value of more than $2 million from 2012, but a decrease in pounds landed by more than 15 million.
The reports are still considered preliminary as the department continues to receive and audit landings data throughout the year.
Lobsters, the state’s most lucrative fishery, experienced another year of record landings and value. At 125,953,876 pounds, lobster landings were the second highest on record since DMR and National Marine Fisheries Service began keeping records. In addition the per pound value increased by 20 cents from $2.69 to $2.89.
“While an increase in price per pound is a good sign, it is still the second lowest on record since 1995, which underscores the importance of the efforts of the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative,” said Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher in a news release.
The preliminary report indicates that the total landed value for Maine lobster in 2013 was $364 million, a $22 million increase from 2012 and $30 million over 2011.
For the first time, the department is reporting bonuses received by lobster harvesters which, while they only include reports from 17 of 19 of Maine’s co-ops, total over $14 million.
“While this figure is not complete, it does provide a better indication of the overall economic benefit of this fishery,” said Keliher. Added to the overall landed value, the bonus figure brings the total to more than $378 million.
Another bright spot for Maine’s commercial fishing industry is the report of an increase in scallop landings of 138,136 meat pounds (without the shell), from 286,411 to 424,547, which resulted in an increase in landed value of over $2 million.
“This is a true success story in Maine’s commercial fishing industry,” said Keliher. “It is the result of a forward looking management plan combined with the sacrifices of Maine’s commercial scallop harvesters. I’m tremendously proud of the work of our science and policy staff which has worked diligently to ensure that this resource is managed for a sustainable future.”
While the decrease in overall landings is attributed in large part to a more than 4 million pound decline in shrimp landings from the previous season, the decrease in pounds landed is also attributed to a decline in farmed salmon landings.
The Department reports that there were 7,320 commercial fishermen in 2013, of those 4,239 were active commercial lobster harvesters. The top five fisheries in terms of active commercial harvesters were lobster, soft shell clams with 1,749, eel with 759, and marine worms with 652 and periwinkles with 613.
Landings report data is available on the Maine Department of Marine Resources website at maine.gov/dmr/comfish.htm.