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

Improvement needs, objectives, and action recommendations for 2020 (see below) were initially shared with the SR in March 2020.Due to COVID-19, approval of the workplan was delayed until September 2020, at which time the proposed activities were updated and presented again to the SR. SR participants have approved the workplan and committed to undertake at least one of the listed activities. 

Progress Update

A summary of SR progress and activities can be found here

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. 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.   

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 2020, SFP has advised the Supply Chain Roundtable participants to undertake the four action recommendations below as the current objectives of the SR. 

Action Recommendations for Suppliers

1. Conduct informal outreach (e.g., email) to NOAA requesting continued publication of TED compliance/effectiveness data.

2. Conduct outreach to members of the Gulf Council’s Shrimp Advisory Panel on the need for a harvest control rule and send a letter to the Gulf Council, requesting that the ABC Control Rule Working Group include the shrimp fishery in their upcoming discussions.

3.  Fund further comparison of electronic logbook and observer program shrimp catch per unit effort data (e.g., a year-to-year comparison) to improve the verification of accuracy.

4. Support the 2021 full bycatch characterization project to be implemented by LGL Ecological Research Associates and Texas Sea Grant by providing logistical support in the form of freezer space and transportation of bycatch samples. 

Project Contact

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