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 cooperates to apply leverage to drive further improvements where they are needed. 

The Gulf of Mexico Shrimp SR is comprised of the leading US shrimp processors and distributors (see the Participants tab for a full list). The participants have been instrumental in the launch and activity of the following fishery improvement projects in all five Gulf of Mexico states, covering nearly all shrimp harvest in the US Gulf of Mexico:

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 

The SR undertakes improvement actions that affect shrimp fisheries at a Gulf-wide scale (e.g., improving information on bycatch), while individual FIPs undertake improvement actions at the state or local level (e.g., boat-level gear inspections to ensure that turtle excluder devices are installed properly). While the US shrimp harvest is a relatively small portion of the worldwide production of large shrimp, this fishery is a leader in sustainability improvements and demonstrates best practices for wild shrimp fisheries around the world. For more information on current work being undertaken by the Supply Chain Roundtable, please see the Activity tab.

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 SR progress and activities can be found here.

Sustainability Issues

For 2020-2021, SFP has advised the Supply Chain Roundtable participants of the following improvement needs: 

  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.
  2. Update TED 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 2018.  
  3. Implement a formal Harvest Control Rule. The mid-term FIP audits conducted for the comprehensive Gulf of Mexico Shrimp FIPs flagged the lack of a formal harvest control rule as an additional barrier to MSC certification. Harvest control rules are rules and management actions that are agreed upon in advance, dictating the response to changes in stock status with respect to thresholds (e.g., population becomes overfished or fishing mortality exceeds thresholds). The Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Fishery Management Plan does not currently include a harvest control rule.   

SR Workplan

In September 2020, SR participants approved this 2020-2021 workplan, addressing all of the above-listed improvement needs, and participants committed to undertake at least one of the listed activities. 

Project Contact

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

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