Fisherman battle over territory

7:41 PM, Dec 13, 2010   |    comments
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Yarmouth, Maine (NEWS CENTER)--Lobstermen and shrimpers try to share the waters in the Gulf of Maine.  Occasionally, they want to fish the same place and one destroy's another's gear.  When this happens, tempers flare.  Today, the Department of Marine Resources tried to get both sides together to calm the issue.

Gear conflicts happen regularly along the coast of Maine.  Lobstermen cried foul last week when they say more than 500 traps were lost off Cape Elizabeth. 

In famous fishing spots named Edge of Bottom and Hue and Cry, the lobstermen are trying to extend their season.  They have agreed not to set traps there.  However, the shrimpers are usually fishing outside until Christmas.

This year, the shrimp moved inside early.  The shrimpers followed.  Lobstermen got the word that they needed to move their traps late.  The shrimpers mowed over the traps, although they say that anyone who did this did so unintentionally.  That's because the traps damage the draggers' nets, often putting shrimpers out of business for a couple of days.

Both sides agree that there is a need for more cooperation.  Draggers think lobstermen should stop fishing December 1st.  Lobstermen, say every day they can set their traps means more money.  Sometimes, they say, it's the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful year.

Marine Warden Colonel Joe Fessenden says his department wants both sides to work together.  "It's a good group of people," he told NEWS CENTER. "Both know each other has to make a living.  We'll get through it. We're hoping they'll work it out themselves."


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