NOAA’s Preliminary Reporting Shows Gulf Shrimp Landings in Line with Last Year; Agency Begins Reporting Preliminary South Atlantic Figures as Well

Yesterday, 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 March and the first quarter of 2022. NOAA also, for the first time, released preliminary shrimp landings data from the South Atlantic.

NOAA reports that 124,000 pounds of shrimp were landed on the east coast of Florida and in North Carolina in March, with a total of 538,900 pounds landed from both places during the first three months of 2022. Data from South Carolina and Georgia were not yet available for this year, and the numbers reported for both the east coast of Florida and North Carolina appear to be preliminary in nature, subject to future revision. For example, data provided by the Division of Marine Fisheries in the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to the Southern Shrimp Alliance indicates that 381,303 pounds of shrimp were landed in the state in the first quarter of this year, while NOAA reports that 203,000 pounds of shrimp were landed in North Carolina between January to March 2022.

In addition to starting to report preliminary landings data for the South Atlantic, NOAA also reported historic shrimp landing data for the region going back to 2018. These data confirm that the region accounts for a significant volume of shrimp landings in the United States, with the South Atlantic responsible for roughly 21.4 percent of the warmwater shrimp landed in the first three months of 2020 and 14.6 percent of the volume of shrimp landed from January to March 2021.

“The Southern Shrimp Alliance is grateful to NOAA Fisheries for considering the industry’s requests and now including the South Atlantic in its reporting of shrimp landings,” said John Williams, the Executive Director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance. “Reliable, timely information regarding shrimp landings throughout the regions in which our industry operates promote transparency and make available the data we need to identify and respond to any threats to our commercial fishery on a real-time basis.”

For the month of March, NOAA preliminarily reports that 2.54 million pounds of shrimp was landed in the Gulf of Mexico, an amount slightly below the 2.67 million pounds preliminarily reported by the agency as landed last year for March 2021, but above the preliminary figures initially reported for March 2020 (1.97 million pounds), March 2019 (2.37 million pounds), and March 2018 (2.48 million pounds). The landings reported for March 2022 were 7.6 percent above the prior 21-year historic average of 2.36 million pounds for the month.

For the first quarter of 2022 as a whole, NOAA preliminarily reports that the total volume of shrimp landed in the Gulf of Mexico, 12.09 million pounds, was slightly below the agency’s final numbers for the first quarter of 2021, 12.82 million pounds, while higher than what the agency ultimately reported for 2020 (10.74 million pounds), 2019 (9.50 million pounds), and 2018 (11.88 million pounds).

As with the agency’s reporting since July of 2021, the numbers released by NOAA for landings in the Gulf in March include substantial revisions to the agency’s initial preliminary reporting of shrimp landings in previous years. These revisions reflect changes to past preliminary reporting such that they now reflect the actual, final shrimp landings data ultimately reported by the states. Because the figures reported for the month of March are preliminary in nature and appear to underestimate the actual volume of shrimp landed during that month, the Southern Shrimp Alliance has continued to present these data in the historical context of the agency’s past initial reporting of preliminary figures. This means that in the summary charts prepared by the Southern Shrimp Alliance, the historical figures for March 2021, March 2020, March 2019, and March 2018 do not correspond to the numbers now being reported by NOAA. Instead, the figures reflect the initial preliminary reporting of NOAA made at the time.

However, NOAA appears to now be adjusting data for landings in January through March 2022 to use final numbers for January and February. Because the amount reported for year-to-date landings in 2022 appears to be a blend of preliminary and final numbers, the archival data historically maintained by the Southern Shrimp Alliance – which encompasses only preliminary figures – may no longer be an appropriate point of comparison. Accordingly, in the summary charts prepared by the Southern Shrimp Alliance, historical data is only presented back to the first quarter of 2018.

In addition to its regular reporting of ex-vessel pricing for three different areas of the Gulf of Mexico, NOAA now includes data on ex-vessel prices for shrimp landed in the South Atlantic. Although no pricing data was reported for March 2022, NOAA reported partial historic data for ex-vessel prices in that region going back to March 2018.

Ex-vessel prices for shrimp landed in March in the Northern and Western Gulf for nearly all count sizes were reported, while ex-vessel prices were not reported by NOAA for the Eastern Gulf. Some of the historic ex-vessel pricing data has been corrected or included for the first time in this report. These data indicate that ex-vessel prices for shrimp in the Northern and Western Gulf were, across the board, significantly higher in March 2022 compared to any March over the previous four years.

Please click the following link to view the Southern Shrimp Alliance’s compilation and summary of March 2000-2022 Shrimp Landings and Ex-Vessel Prices for March 2001-2022 in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic: https://www.shrimpalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/March-2022-Landings.pdf

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