Record Low Shrimp Landings in October 2018

Earlier today, the Fishery Monitoring Branch of NOAA Fisheries’ Southeast Fisheries Science Center released shrimp landings data from the Gulf of Mexico for October 2018.

At 10.4 million pounds, the commercial shrimp harvest in the Gulf of Mexico was the lowest reported for any October in the records maintained by the Southern Shrimp Alliance going back to 2002.  In total, landings for the month were roughly 30% below the prior sixteen-year historical average for the month (14.8 million pounds).  Low volumes were driven by a lack of reporting of any shrimp landings from the west coast of Florida, as well as only 3.6 million pounds of shrimp reported as landed in Louisiana – by far the lowest total for any October going back to 2002 and less than half of the prior sixteen-year average (7.7 million pounds).

For the year thus far, 83.5 million pounds of shrimp have been landed in the Gulf of Mexico, down from 84.8 million pounds through the first ten months of last year, and 17% below the prior sixteen-year historical average.  This total masks what has otherwise been the second straight year of increased shrimp landings in Texas – from 25.3 million pounds in Jan.-Oct. 2016, to 30.8 million pounds in Jan.-Oct. 2017, to 32.5 million pounds in Jan.-Oct. 2018.  It also overshadows a record year for Alabama, with 12.4 million pounds of shrimp landed in 2018.

The dreary harvest year has resulted from the continuing decline in commercial shrimp landings reported in Louisiana.  2018 marks the fifth straight year that the volume of shrimp landings has reportedly declined in the state, falling from 48.7 million pounds in 2013 to 47.2 million pounds in 2014 to 36.1 million pounds in 2015 to 35.5 million pounds in 2016 to 32.3 million pounds in 2017 to 31.2 million pounds in 2018.  In the historical NOAA-reported dataset maintained by the Southern Shrimp Alliance, the only time over the last seventeen years where less shrimp was harvested in that state was in 2010, when commercial shrimping was severely disrupted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April of that year.

For the fourteenth 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 moved inconsistently across count sizes compared to ex-vessel prices in October 2017.  Ex-vessel prices for U15 count size shrimp were lower last month in the northern Gulf compared to last year ($7.26 vs. $7.75), but were substantially higher in the western Gulf ($9.87 vs. $8.83).  For all other count sizes (15/20; 21/25; 26/30; 31/35; 36/40; and 41/50), ex-vessel prices in the northern Gulf were higher last month than they were in October 2017.  But in the western Gulf, ex-vessel prices were higher for 15/20 and 26/30 count size shrimp, lower for 21/25, 36/40, and 41/50 count size shrimp, and exactly the same for 31/35 count size shrimp.

Please click the following link to view SSA’s compilation and summary of October 2002-2018 Shrimp Landings and Ex-Vessel Prices for October 2001-2018: https://www.shrimpalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/October-2018-Landings.pdfOctober 2018 Landings

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