Record Lows in Louisiana and Florida–And a Near Record High in Texas–Close Out 2018

Earlier today, the Fishery Monitoring Branch of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries’ Southeast Fisheries Science Center released shrimp landings data from the Gulf of Mexico for December 2018 and January 2019.

For December, NOAA reported that 6.5 million pounds of shrimp were landed in the Gulf of Mexico, down from 6.9 million pounds last year, and 24.4 percent below the prior eighteen-year historical average of 8.6 million pounds. The decline in landings for the month was due to low shrimp landings in Louisiana and on the west coast of Florida. For the latter, the 265,000 pounds of shrimp landed during the month was the lowest for any December in the database maintained by the Southern Shrimp Alliance going back to the year 2000 and was almost 64 percent below the prior eighteen-year historical average of 728,000 pounds. In Louisiana, just 1.1 million pounds of shrimp was reported landed in December, down from 1.6 million pounds in 2017 and 69 percent below the prior eighteen-year historical average of 3.6 million pounds. As with the west coast of Florida, this was the lowest volume of shrimp landed in Louisiana during the month of December in the data available to the Southern Shrimp Alliance.

In contrast, at 4.2 million pounds, December shrimp landings in Texas were the highest reported for that month since 2005 and were 43 percent above the prior eighteen-year historical average of 2.9 million pounds.

For the year, 98.3 million pounds of shrimp were landed in the Gulf of Mexico, down from 100.7 million pounds in 2017 and 22 percent below the prior eighteen-year historical average of 126.1 million pounds. At 35.4 million pounds, shrimp landings in Louisiana were the lowest ever reported in a year for that state. And at 4.0 million pounds, shrimp landings in the west coast of Florida were the second lowest ever reported for that region.

Although landings in Louisiana and Florida were down substantially in 2018, the volume of shrimp landed in Alabama (14.1 million pounds) was the second highest total ever reported for the state and the volume of shrimp landed in Texas (40.0 million pounds), was the highest since 2012 and was close to the prior eighteen-year historical average of 40.8 million pounds.

In addition to the analysis of monthly numbers released by NOAA, the Southern Shrimp Alliance’s compilation of data, linked to below, also includes an analysis of changes in NOAA’s final reporting of shrimp landings data. These revisions take place well after interim monthly data is reported and the most recent final data available is for calendar year 2017.

Revisions to NOAA’s monthly, interim reporting in 2016 and 2017 indicate that the interim data substantially underreported Gulf shrimp landings, such that in 2016, total landings were eventually reported to be 27 percent higher than what was initially reported in monthly data and, in 2017, total landings were reported to be 35 percent higher than what was reported initially in the monthly data. The revisions have been even more substantial for Louisiana, with totals increasing in the final tally by 44 percent in 2016 and 58 percent in 2017. These upward revisions in the final totals are much more substantial than they had been in previous years and indicate that NOAA’s monthly reporting numbers are likely grossly understating the total volume of shrimp caught in Louisiana in 2018.

Nevertheless, even accounting for understatement in prior years, total shrimp landing volumes in Louisiana have been consistently declining, while landings in Texas had remained, comparatively, relatively stable.

With respect to prices, for the first time in over a year, 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 for U15 count size shrimp were the highest reported for any December going back to 1999. However, for all count sizes 21/25 or smaller, the ex-vessel prices reported by NOAA for the western, northern, and eastern Gulf regions were significantly lower than the ex-vessel prices for the same size shrimp in December 2017.

An analysis of landings data for January 2019 will be issued by the Southern Shrimp Alliance tomorrow.

Please click the following link to view SSA’s compilation and summary of December 2000-2018 Shrimp Landings and Ex-Vessel Prices for December 1999-2018: https://www.shrimpalliance.com/ wp-content/uploads/2019/02/ December-2018-Landings.pdf

Filed Under