Are Maine halibut headed for trouble?
Go to Scales, an elegant waterfront restaurant on a Portland pier, and a plate of pan-roasted halibut with hazelnuts, brown butter and new potatoes will cost you $38, tax and tip extra. Go down to the dock in Lubec or Stonington during May and June, when Maine fishermen are allowed to harvest halibut from state waters inside the three-mile limit, and $38 would buy you about 5 pounds of halibut, if you could buy less than a whole fish directly off the boat. And that’s the problem. Over the decade between 2006 and 2015, the last year for which the Department of Marine Resources has figures, the boat price for halibut increased some 44 percent and landings increased from just 30,018 pounds worth about $139,000 to more than 93,000 pounds that brought fishermen some $623,000. Now federal fisheries regulators are saying that halibut may be in trouble. Read the story here 12:14