On Friday, the Fisheries Statistic Division of NOAA Fisheries’ Southeast Fisheries Science Center published data regarding shrimp landings in the Gulf of Mexico for March 2018.
Last month, roughly 2.5 million pounds of shrimp was landed in the Gulf of Mexico. Although the shrimp caught in the Gulf last month was lower than what had been reported as landed in March 2017 (3.7 million pounds) and March 2016 (3.5 million pounds), shrimp landings were nevertheless 5.4% above the prior seventeen-year historical average (2.4 million pounds). The vast majority of shrimp caught in March was landed in Texas (1.0 million pounds) and the west coast of Florida (0.8 million pounds), with landings in Florida the highest reported for any March since 2006. At the same time, shrimp landed in Louisiana last month (0.2 million pounds) was 54.3% below the prior seventeen-year historical average (0.5 million pounds) and was the second lowest volume recorded for a March over the last eighteen years.
Through the first quarter of 2018, the total volume of shrimp caught in the Gulf of Mexico (7.6 million pounds) is 18.5 percent below the prior seventeen-year historic average (9.3 million pounds). This shortfall is almost entirely attributable to an incredibly poor three months of landings in Louisiana in which only 0.8 million pounds of shrimp were reported as caught, compared to a seventeen-year historic average of 3.1 million pounds, a drop of 75.3%. Louisiana’s totals for this year thus far are unprecedented. At a minimum, commercial shrimpers have landed at least 2 million pounds of shrimp in every first quarter of the last seventeen years.
The change in the composition of shrimp landings in the Gulf of Mexico this year is striking. Over the previous seventeen years, the commercial shrimp catch in the Gulf has been lead, in terms of volume, by the state of Louisiana. The table below shows the average landings by state in the Gulf of Mexico between 2001 and 2017:
But this year, Louisiana’s contribution has been dwarfed by other states, as shown in the table below:
For the seventh straight month, no ex-vessel prices were reported by NOAA for the eastern Gulf (the west coast of Florida). Ex-vessel prices reported for the northern (Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi) and western (Texas) Gulf were generally up or at similar levels when compared to March of last year. Dockside prices for U15 shrimp were reported to have exceeded $10 per pound in the western Gulf last month. And prices for shrimp with a count size of 16/20 or smaller were reported to be uniformly higher in the Northern Gulf than in March of last year and March of 2016.
Please click the following link to view SSA’s compilation and summary of March 2001-2018 Shrimp Landings and Ex-Vessel Prices for March 2001-2018: http://www.shrimpalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/March-2018-Landings.pdf