The Gulf of Mexico shrimp industry has made vast improvements in sustainability over the last 15 years, including stock monitoring, bycatch reduction, area closures, and sea turtle nesting enhancement projects. However, there is still room for improvements in sustainability. The Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Supply Chain Roundtable focuses on monitoring sustainability status and issues in US shrimp fisheries and pushes for improvements where they are needed.  

While wild caught-shrimp are not the main source of global supply in the large-shrimp sector, the US Gulf of Mexico shrimp fisheries (contributing only around 1 percent of global production in the sector) are an important source at the doorstep of one of the major markets for large shrimp: the United States.

The Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Supply Chain Roundtable thus focuses on shrimp fisheries in the US Gulf of Mexico, primarily those targeting white, brown, and pink shrimp.

Fisheries and/or FIPs Covered:

The following FIPs are supported and monitored:

Alabama shrimp – small bottom trawl/skimmer nets

Gulf of Mexico northern pink shrimp – otter trawl

Louisiana shrimp – otter/skimmer trawl

Mississippi shrimp

US Texas shrimp – otter trawl

Wood’s Florida shrimp 

For more details on the sustainability status of the fisheries, progress of the FIPs, and improvement recommendations, please follow this link

Progress Update

A summary of past progress can be found in the SR Chronicles. 

Improvement Needs and Recommendations

1.   Resolve the remaining two barriers to eco-certification of the US Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Fishery. The Shrimp Bycatch Data Workshop, funded by the SR in July 2017, identified the following two issues as the primary barriers to eco-certification: 1) observer data precision and verifiability and 2) lack of recent full bycatch characterization. Workshop participants identified specific tasks/activities that could be undertaken to resolve these issues.

2. UpdateTED Compliance and Effectiveness data. TED Compliance and Effectiveness data are posted on the NOAA Southeast Regional Office's Sea Turtle Protection and Shrimp Fisheries webpage, but have not been updated since December 2017.  

Current Objectives

SFP’s general objectives for this roundtable are to provide a platform for the seafood supply chain to oversee shrimp fishery improvement projects (FIPs) throughout the Gulf of Mexico, learn from experience and develop best practices, and cooperate to apply leverage to drive further improvements. For 2018, the Supply Chain Roundtable participants agreed to undertake the three action recommendations below as the current objectives of the SR. 

Action Recommendations for Suppliers

1. Seek funding to resolve the remaining barriers to eco-certification. The SR has requested a full proposal from LGL Ecological Research Associates for an Observer Data Verification Project. The preliminary proposal is to compare shrimp catch per unit effort (CPUE) from the Observer Program (2 percent coverage rate) and Electronic Logbook (40-50 percent coverage rate). If the shrimp CPUE data are similar, then the ELB program could serve as verification of the accuracy of the observer program in MSC or GULF certification assessments, without requiring an increase in the observer coverage rate. The SR will also work with other organizations that participated in the 2017 Bycatch Data Workshop to seek funding for a full bycatch characterization project.

2.  Send a letter to the NOAA Southeast Regional Office requesting a public update of the Sea Turtle Capture Rates and TED Effectiveness data. 

3.  Monitor ongoing progress on ecosystem-based fishery management in the Gulf of Mexico by the Gulf Council and NOAA.  

Project Contact

If you would like more information about the roundtable or wish to support it, please contact SFP.