Last night, NOAA’s Gulf of Mexico Data Management division released information regarding December shrimp landings in the Gulf of Mexico.
In December, the commercial fishing industry landed 6.6 million pounds of shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico, up from 5.8 million pounds in December of 2016. Despite the significant increase from 2016, landings last month were 23.4 percent below the prior seventeen-year historic average for December of 8.7 million pounds.
Landings for the month in the state of Louisiana, at 1.6 million pounds, were 56.0 percent below the prior seventeen-year historic average of 3.7 million pounds for December and were the lowest volume recorded for any December in the data maintained by the Southern Shrimp Alliance going back to 2000.
In contrast, 1.9 million pounds of shrimp were landed in the state of Alabama in December, an amount 123.8 percent higher than the prior seventeen-year historic average of 0.9 million pounds and the highest amount recorded for any December in the data maintained by the Southern Shrimp Alliance going back to 2000.
The reported volumes in December are consistent with landings throughout 2017. For the state of Louisiana, an annual harvest of 37.4 million pounds was the lowest recorded for the state in the eighteen years for which the Southern Shrimp Alliance has tracked data. This amount was 39.8 percent below the prior seventeen-year historic average (63.4 million pounds). However, in Alabama, the 15.4 million pounds of shrimp landed in 2017 were the highest recorded for the state in the Southern Shrimp Alliance’s data compilation and was 47.4 percent above the prior seventeen-year historic average of 10.4 million pounds.
For the year, 36.6 million pounds of shrimp were landed in Texas, up from 29.5 million pounds in 2016. Nevertheless, the annual total was 11.0 percent below the prior seventeen-year historic average of 41.0 million pounds. Landings on the West Coast of Florida (6.2 million pounds) in 2017 were the highest recorded since 2014 and landings in Mississippi (4.8 million pounds) were higher than 2016 (4.2 million pounds).
For the Gulf as a whole, shrimpers landed 100.4 million pounds of shrimp in 2017, up from 93.9 million pounds reported in the same dataset for 2016. This total was 21.3 percent below the prior seventeen-year historic average of 127.6 million pounds.
Notably, over the last few years, the shrimp landings reported by NOAA have been significantly revised upwards in the data reported by the Fisheries of the United States publication. The month-to-month reporting by NOAA in 2015 indicated that shrimpers landed 106.9 million pounds of shrimp in the Gulf for the year, but the Fisheries of the United States publication reported Gulf shrimp landings of 123.9 million pounds, an increase of 16.0 percent. Similarly, the month-to-month reporting by NOAA in 2016 indicated that fishermen landed 93.9 million pounds of shrimp in the Gulf, but this amount was revised upwards to 118.9 million pounds in the most recent Fisheries of the United States, an increase of 26.6 percent. Because there have been significant revisions to the landings data reported in both 2015 and 2016, there is a strong possibility that similar revisions will be made to data for 2017.
Although these data may be subject to further significant revision, reporting in 2017 has consistently indicated a poor harvest year for Louisiana and, in stark contrast, a strong year for shrimpers in Alabama.
For the fourth 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 down for all count sizes last month compared to December of 2016, but remained significantly above depressed levels in December of 2015.
Please click the following link to view SSA’s compilation and summary of December 2000-2017 Shrimp Landings and Ex-Vessel Prices for December 1999-2017: http://www.shrimpalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/December-2017-Landings.pdf