Healthy scallop catch forces closure of nine Maine areas

Nine Maine scallop fishing areas are ready to close for the season because of the volume of catch.

The closures are set to begin Monday and include scallop-rich Cobscook Bay. Some of the areas, including the St. Croix River, will remain partially open on a limited basis. The other closures are Whiting and Dennys bays, the Little Inner Kennebec and Englishman Bay area, the Addison area, Casco Passage, Bagaduce River, Sheepscot River and Casco Bay.

Regulators say other scallop fishing areas in the state will remain open until early April. The closures are part of Maine’s effort to rebuild its scallop fishery. The scallop fishery bottomed out at 33,141 pounds 10 years ago and has rebuilt since, with fishermen catching more than a half-million pounds in 2013.

Average cost of gas rises 9.1 cents to $2.40 in Maine

Gas prices have gone up 9.1 cents a gallon in the last week in Maine.

Gas price-monitoring website GasBuddycom reported Monday that the average cost of a gallon of gas in Maine is up to $2.40, nearly 30 cents per gallon higher than in the past month, but still nearly $1.18 lower per gallon than at this time last year.

The price per gallon in Maine is 2 cents below the national average.

Excluding price changes, consumer spending up

U.S. consumers spent less for a second consecutive month in January, but the weakness came from a big decline in gas prices. Excluding price changes, consumer spending was up in January and analysts expect strong income gains will fuel further solid increases in spending in the months ahead.

Consumer spending declined 0.2 percent in January following a 0.3 percent drop in December, the Commerce Department reported Monday. But the weakness in both months was heavily influenced by big declines in gas prices. Excluding price changes, consumer spending rose 0.3 percent in January and would have been down a smaller 0.1 percent in December.

Berkshire executive renews interest in Buffet’s successor

Billionaire Warren Buffett didn’t end the speculation about his eventual successor, but he reiterated Monday that Berkshire Hathaway’s board has a plan in place.

Buffett addressed a variety of topics on CNBC after releasing his annual letter to Berkshire shareholders over the weekend.

Berkshire’s Vice Chairman Charlie Munger spurred renewed interest in the replacement for the 84-year-old Buffett over the weekend because he singled out two candidates in his own letter to shareholders: reinsurance chief Ajit Jain and the head of its utility company, Greg Abel.

– From news service reports