Last Update: December 2016
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, but there are still areas 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.
Supplier Roundtable Participants:
Bayou Shrimp Processors, Inc.
Big Easy Foods
Biloxi Freezing & Processing Inc.
Bluewater Shrimp Company, Inc.
Captain's Fine Foods
Cox's Wholesale Seafood
Galveston Shrimp Company
Paul Piazza & Son, Inc.
Fisheries and/or FIPs Covered:
This roundtable focuses on shrimp fisheries in the US Gulf of Mexico, primarily those targeting white, brown, and pink shrimp.
The following FIPs and Marine Advancement Plans (MAPs) are supported and monitored:
For more details on the sustainability status of the fisheries, progress of the FIPs, and improvement recommendations, please follow this link.
Improvement Needs and Recommendations:
1. Evaluate the Gulf of Mexico shrimp observer program. Coverage levels in the Gulf of Mexico shrimp observer program are low and it is unclear if this coverage level is providing statistically robust bycatch data.
2. Implement ecosystem-based management in the Gulf of Mexico. While some work has been done to evaluate the structure and function of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, there is not a comprehensive plan that evaluates Gulf fisheries' impacts on the ecosystem and ensures that the structure and function of the ecosystem is not being seriously impaired.
Action Recommendations for Suppliers:
1. Contact the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and ask them to perform an evaluation of the Gulf of Mexico shrimp observer program to determine statistically robust coverage levels.
2. Contact the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and encourage them to fully implement ecosystem-based management in the Gulf of Mexico.
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 each other’s experience and develop best practices, cooperate to apply leverage to drive further improvements, and catalyze new FIPs where needed. For 2016, our specific objectives are:
- Continue the dialogue established with the NOAA observer program in 2015 regarding the shrimp observer program coverage levels and statistical evaluation.
- Initiate dialogue with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council regarding ecosystem-based management.
- Roundtable initiated during Seafood Expo North America in March. SFP presented an update on the sustainability of the US Gulf of Mexico shrimp fisheries. Representatives of shrimp FIPs presented updates on their work. Texas Sea Grant gave an overview of their new TED evaluation and training program. (see Meeting Notes, Presentation)
- SFP presented a webinar for Supplier Roundtable participants in June. The webinar reviewed the results of the Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultation (impacts of the shrimp fishery on endangered and threatened species; presentation) and SFP presented the 2014 Shrimp Procurement Recommendations.
- SFP released public FIP ratings in December. SFP's Florida Pink Shrimp and Texas Shrimp FIPs received "A" (Exceptional Progress) ratings due to gear evaluations performed by FIP participants' supplier vessels and the results of the bycatch status study commissioned by these FIPs. SFP's Louisiana Shrimp FIP received a "B" (Good Progress) rating due to the decline in Gulf shrimp fishery bycatch reported in December 2012 and progress on FIP activities reported in 2014. Wood's Fisheries Florida Shrimp received an "E" (Negligible Progress) rating due to a lack of publicly reported impacts.
- The Supply Chain Roundtable met during the Seafood Summit in New Orleans in February to review FIP progress and discuss further improvements needed in Gulf of Mexico shrimp fisheries. The SR participants agreed to reach out to the NOAA Observer Program regarding shrimp fishery observer coverage levels and whether the program is generating statistically robust data. (Meeting Notes)
- The SR met via conference call in November to review FIP progress and TED compliance data. SR participants also discussed the content of a letter being developed from the SR to the NOAA Observer Program regarding program design and data quality. The letter, available here, was sent to the Observer Program in December. (Meeting Report)
- The Supply Chain Roundtable met in March in Boston during Seafood Expo North America. The SR participants agreed to continue working together in 2016 on issues that affect the entire Gulf of Mexico shrimp industry, while individual FIPs address local issues. The joint tasks will include 1) observer program evaluation and 2) ecosystem based fishery management. All participants and SFP agreed to this Statement of Work. (Meeting Report)
- In July 2016, the Texas Shrimp FIP leadership transitioned from SFP to Audubon Nature Institute and was renamed the Texas Shrimp MAP (Marine Advancement Plan) to coordinate with their other projects. Audubon Nature Institute also launched the Mississippi Shrimp MAP, which has been added to the list of FIPs that this SR will monitor.
- The SR met in July via conference call to review progress in FIPs and discuss improvement actions to be taken by the SR participants. (Meeting Notes)
- In August 2016, the SR participants emailed a letter to the NOAA shrimp observer program inquiring about the status of data generated by the observer program and whether any review of the data is underway. No response was received and the communication was sent again in November.
- In August 2016, the SR participants sent a letter to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council inquiring about any recent progress on the ecosystem-based management plan for the Gulf of Mexico. A response was received from the Gulf Council in September, referencing ongoing work by NOAA Fisheries and explaining that the Council is no longer pursuing a comprehensive ecosystem-based fishery management plan but is instead attempting to integrate ecosystem-based fishery management into the existing species-specific fishery management. The SR participants sent a followup letter to the Gulf Council, requesting that the Council include a section on ecosystem-based fishery management in Shrimp Amendment 17B. This section would review currently available information on the status of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and describe how ecosystem-based fishery management is being applied in the shrimp fishery.
If you would like more information about the Roundtable or wish to support it, please contact SFP.