August Shrimp Landings Incompletely Reported; Major Historical Revisions Confirm Substantial Underreporting of Shrimp Landings in Gulf of Mexico

Earlier today, the Fishery Monitoring Branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries’ Southeast Fisheries Science Center released preliminary shrimp landings data from the Gulf of Mexico for August.
For the month, NOAA reports that 11.7 million pounds of shrimp was landed in the Gulf of Mexico, the second lowest total for any August since 2002, behind only the 10.1 million pounds of shrimp preliminarily reported as landed in 2020.
The release of estimated landings numbers for August 2021 was accompanied with a note explaining that “Due to Hurricane Ida Not All landings were received.” These deficiencies were most evidence in NOAA’s reporting that just 466 thousand pounds of shrimp had been landed in Louisiana for the month, a figure that is more than 92 percent below the prior nineteen-year historic average and far and away the lowest ever reported for that state for the month of August. Less dramatically, NOAA reported that just 548 thousand pounds of shrimp were landed in Mississippi in August, the second lowest total ever reported in that state for the month.
Over the first eight months of 2021, NOAA reports that the total volume of shrimp landed in the Gulf of Mexico, 47.3 million pounds, is slightly higher than what it had reported for the same time period last year, 44.4 million pounds, while slightly lower than what the agency reported for the first eight months of 2019 – 48.9 million pounds.
As with the agency’s July reporting, these numbers are not reflected in NOAA’s August 2021 Shrimp Statistics report published by the agency and available on its website. Instead, the Shrimp Statistics report shows shrimp landings volumes for 2021 that are substantially lower than those reported for the prior four years (2017-2020). These newly reported historical figures reflect revisions to past preliminary reporting of shrimp landings data that now provide the actual shrimp landings data reported by the states.
The impact of the ultimate, final data on NOAA’s initially reported estimates reported varies by state. In the historical analysis conducted by the Southern Shrimp Alliance, the organization has now included charts comparing NOAA’s original reporting of estimates with the newly revised figures reported for 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.  This analysis indicates that NOAA’s estimates have consistently substantially undercounted the total volume of shrimp landed by the domestic shrimp industry.
Across the Gulf, the actual landings of shrimp between January to August in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, were nearly forty percent higher than the initial estimates published by NOAA.  The final bar in the Southern Shrimp Alliance’s comparison charts applies the average increase in the revised landings figures compared to the original estimates to provide an estimate of how much larger the actual harvest of shrimp in the region was likely to have been both in August 2021 and over the first eight months of this year. Because the extent of the discrepancy between NOAA’s initial estimates and the final tabulated numbers has varied substantially over the previous four years, this simple model for estimating actual landings is unlikely to be accurate but should provide some sense as to the degree of underreporting that may be reflected in NOAA’s current estimates.
Ex-vessel prices for shrimp landed in August in the western Gulf for all count sizes were reported by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, while ex-vessel prices were not reported by NOAA for the eastern Gulf (Florida west coast) or the northern Gulf (Alabama, Louisiana, & Mississippi). For the western Gulf, the ex-vessel prices reported for every count size were substantially above the ex-vessel prices reported in August 2020 and, for smaller-sized shrimp, were at historically high levels.
Please click the following link to view SSA’s compilation and summary of August 2002-2021 Shrimp Landings and Ex-Vessel Prices for August 2001-2021 in the Gulf of Mexico: https://www.shrimpalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/August-2021-Landings.pdf

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