Shrimping in the Gulf of Maine

Maine shrimp have long been a staple catch and reliable form of winter income for Maine’s fishermen. This year, Maine’s shrimp fishermen are facing a shortened season, and low-catch quotas due to a shortage of Maine shrimp. Captain Proctor Wells of Phippsburg, Maine allowed me to come along to photograph how these tasty little¬†crustaceans¬†are caught. It’s a long process, started well before dawn, on cold winter mornings, and the day often doesn’t end until after sunset. Due to the fishing restrictions put in place early in the 2013 season the fishermen are only allowed to shrimp on Mondays and Wednesdays. Despite rain, howling winds, and high seas they head to sea to drop their nets and hope for a decent catch and good prices. Proctor estimated that about half the typical fleet didn’t even try to get out on the water this year due to the low imposed quotas, it’s just not worth it to get the boats and gear ready. Next year there is talk that there might not even be a shrimp season at all.

Getting the gear ready before dawn.

Mark Wells rests in the wheel house during a tow.

A snow covered winch.


Captain Proctor Wells