NOAA’s Preliminary Reporting Shows Higher Volume of Shrimp Landings in 2021 Compared to 2020, But Landings Still Significantly Below Historic Averages

On Tuesday, 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 November.

For the month of November, NOAA reports that 6.7 million pounds of shrimp was landed in the Gulf of Mexico, higher than the 6.6 million pounds of shrimp preliminarily reported as landed during the month of November 2020 and the 6.1 million pounds of landed shrimp preliminarily reported for November 2019.  However, the November 2021 total was nevertheless the third lowest volume of shrimp preliminarily reported as landed for the month in the historical dataset maintained by the Southern Shrimp Alliance going back to 2002.

As with the rest of 2021, the low numbers reported for November are due in large part to small preliminary landing volumes reported in Louisiana, where just 2.4 million pounds was said to have been landed.  This amount is 57.9 percent below the prior 19-year historic average of 5.6 million pounds in the state and the second-lowest preliminary total reported in the Southern Shrimp Alliance’s dataset going back to 2002, above just the 2.3 million pounds preliminarily reported as landed in November of 2020.

Over the first eleven months of 2021, NOAA reports that the total volume of shrimp landed in the Gulf of Mexico, 68.4 million pounds, is slightly higher than what it had preliminarily reported for the same time period in 2020, 64.6 million pounds, while lower than what the agency preliminarily reported for the first eleven months of 2019 – 73.3 million pounds.

As with the agency’s reporting for July, August, September, and October, the numbers released by NOAA for November include substantial revisions to the agency’s previous preliminary reporting of shrimp landings in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.  These revisions reflect changes to past preliminary reporting such that they now reflect the actual, final shrimp landings data reported by the states.  Accordingly, the numbers included in NOAA’s November 2021 Shrimp Statistics report published by the agency and available on its website are inconsistent with the Shrimp Statistics reports issued for that month in the preceding four years.

On average, the preliminary numbers initially reported by NOAA for shrimp landings in January to November 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 were 39.1 percent lower than the revised final numbers currently being reported.  The discrepancy has increased over time, growing from 34.7 percent in 2017 to 37.7 percent in 2018 to 39.4 percent in 2019 and then to 44.7 percent in 2020.  The chart below compares NOAA’s initial preliminary reporting for those four years to the current, revised reporting of final figures.  If the discrepancy between the preliminary numbers reported in 2020 and the final numbers currently being reported is used to estimate the underreporting of shrimp landings in 2021, the total shrimp harvest in the Gulf of Mexico for the first eleven months of last year would have been 99 million pounds.

Because the revisions reflect final rather than preliminary figures, the Southern Shrimp Alliance has not made conforming adjustments in its compilation of historic data reported by NOAA.  The current monthly data being reported is preliminary and, as such, is more appropriately compared to the preliminary data for prior years.  The extent of the difference between NOAA’s preliminary and final reporting for past months varies by state.  Nevertheless, the Southern Shrimp Alliance’s analysis of the difference between preliminary and final reporting of shrimp landings data indicates that NOAA’s estimates have consistently substantially undercounted the total volume of shrimp landed by the domestic shrimp industry.

Ex-vessel prices for shrimp landed in November in the western Gulf for all count sizes were reported by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, while ex-vessel prices were reported by NOAA for a single count size (21/25) in the eastern Gulf (Florida west coast) while no prices were reported for the northern Gulf (Alabama, Louisiana, & Mississippi).  For the western Gulf, the ex-vessel prices reported for the majority of count sizes were higher than the ex-vessel prices reported in November 2020, with prices for U15 shrimp ($10.76 per pound) the highest ever reported for the month of November.

Please click the following link to view SSA’s compilation and summary of November 2002-2021 Shrimp Landings and Ex-Vessel Prices for November 2001-2021 in the Gulf of Mexico:

https://www.shrimpalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/November-2021-Landings.pdf

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