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In the News - July 2022

Maine’s oyster business booming

In 2021 Maine’s oyster harvest was the largest and most valuable in its history, according to data from the Department of Marine Resources. The amount of oysters harvested, primarily aquaculture grown, grew by more than 50% to more than 6 million pounds. Maine oysters were worth more than $10 million in 2021, just ten years after they were worth less than $1.3 million. Oysters are now the fourth most valuable marine resource in the state. The growth of Maine oysters is happening at a time when the national oyster industry is diversifying. A decade ago, about 60% of the value of U.S. oysters came from Washington and Louisiana, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Now, those states make up just 27% of the value, while oyster harvests have grown in numerous other states, including Texas, Virginia, Massachusetts and California.

New Luke’s Lobster restaurant for New York City

Luke’s Lobster is opening its newest restaurant this month in New York City. The new eatery will open on July 20 at the Grand Central Terminal train station. Luke’s Lobster Grand Central is an open-concept design with 52 seats, some of which are original, wooden train-station benches, and an additional 10 bar seats in the 1,200-square-foot lower-level concourse. The company currently operates seven lobster shacks in New York City and 18 nationwide.

DFO slashes N.S., N.B. herring quota

The Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) cut the herring quota for southwestern Nova Scotia and New Brunswick by one-third in late June, citing a need to protect the depleted forage fish. Most of the quota is caught by seiners — boats that use big nets to circle a school of herring as it comes to the surface. DFO reduced the 2022 quota, or total allowable catch (TAC), from 35,000 tons to 23,450 tons, a 33% reduction. However, environmentalists say the cut does not go far enough to rebuild the stock.

New marine refuge established off Nova Scotia

The Canadian federal government declared a 44,000 square kilometer area off Nova Scotia a marine refuge in early June. The Eastern Canyons Marine Refuge runs from the edge of the continental shelf near Sable Island to Canada’s exclusive economic zone more than 300 kilometers offshore. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) says Eastern Canyons is home to rare bottlenose whales and cold-water corals. All bottom-contact fisheries — including trawls, traps, and longlines — will be prohibited inside the marine refuge, with the exception of one fishing zone for smaller vessels that use longlines. Establishment of the refuge was criticized by some in Nova Scotia’s lucrative halibut fishery, which will be blocked from most of the area.

Portland Fish Exchange takes hard look at its future

The Portland Fish Exchange board took the first tentative steps in June toward possibly ending the 35-year-old auction. The Fish Exchange provides space on the Portland Fish Pier for fisherman to bring their haul and for seafood buyers to bid on the fresh catch. But it has struggled in recent years as fishermen are landing fewer fish. And they often take what they do catch to Massachusetts, which has robust seafood markets. The auction opened in 1986 as an alternative to selling catches out of state. The goal has been to support and maintain Portland’s fishing fleet, but a dwindling catch has made that more difficult and the auction struggles to fill its four times weekly sales of seafood.


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