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New England shrimp season might end early

Regulators are considering putting an early end to the New England shrimp season because shrimpers are catching too many of them.

Officials with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission have scheduled an emergency phone meeting Friday to consider shutting down the season - possibly next week - for the second year in a row because the harvest is fast approaching the 8.8-million pound target set by scientists last fall.

If the season shuts down early, half a dozen or more companies in Maine will have to stop processing shrimp and hundreds of fishermen will have to tie up their boats.

The harvest has been strong because of a healthy shrimp population, more fishing pressure and stable markets that have resulted in strong prices, said Glen Libby, a shrimp fisherman in Port Clyde and president of the Midcoast Fishermen's Cooperative, which processes and sells shrimp under the Port Clyde Fresh Catch label.

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