Shrimp remains one of our favorite types of seafood in the United States. Although our shrimp fisheries are among the largest and highest valued in the United States, farm-raised imports make up the majority of our shrimp supply. In fact, shrimp imports make up nearly 30 percent of all seafood we import (in value). We mainly import shrimp from Southeast Asian countries, followed by Ecuador and Mexico.
- Gray triggerfish
- Greater amberjack
- Ocean perch
- Sea Bass
- Turbot (Greenland)
ALSO KNOWN AS:
Brownies, Green Lake Shrimp, Red Shrimp, Redtail Shrimp, Golden Shrimp, Native Shrimp, Summer Shrimp
U.S. wild-caught from North Carolina to Texas
- FISHING RATE
- HABITAT IMPACTS
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Baby brown shrimp.LAUNCH GALLERY
Brown shrimp is one of the three species of penaeid shrimp harvested in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Fisheries for brown, pink, and white shrimp are some of the most valuable fisheries in the southeastern United States. Nearly 97 percent of the brown shrimp harvested in the United States comes from the Gulf, mainly from Texas and Louisiana. Brown shrimp are available fresh and frozen year-round.
Shrimp are essentially an “annual crop” – most shrimp do not survive longer than 2 years. Although scientists monitor shrimp abundance to ensure the stock is healthy, it’s not as an important consideration for fishery managers as with other seafood species. Instead, managers consider historic harvest amounts and fishing rates in developing a management strategy for the fishery. They also look at the amount of surviving parents and environmental conditions, such as weather and water temperatures. As long as environmental conditions are favorable, shrimp are very productive and can rebound from low abundance one year to high abundance the next.
Although shrimp populations are fairly resilient to fishing pressure, commercial shrimp fisheries can impact the abundance of other species, including sea turtles and finfish such as red snapper. To reduce this bycatch, shrimp trawlers must have bycatch reduction devices (BRDs), which are designed to retain shrimp but allow fish to exit the net. Scientists monitor shrimp effort as a proxy for the amount of bycatch taken. If shrimp effort exceeds certain thresholds, managers can close some areas to shrimp trawling at certain times to control bycatch.
Shrimp fishermen must also comply with federal sea turtle conservation requirements, including the use of Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs). A TED is a grid of bars with an opening at either the top or bottom of the trawl net. The grid is fitted into the neck of a shrimp trawl. Small animals such as shrimp can pass through the grid, but it stops large animals such as sea turtles and they can escape through the opening, relatively unharmed. When properly installed and maintained, TEDs effectively reduce sea turtle deaths. In 2010 and 2011, NOAA recorded a spike in the number of sea turtle strandings in the Gulf of Mexico, and analyses suggested many turtles stranded because of interactions with the trawl fishery. Managers, enforcement officers, and the shrimp industry are working to ensure proper compliance with TED requirements to reduce sea turtle bycatch in the southeastern shrimp fishery.
LOCATION & HABITAT
Brown shrimp are found from off Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, to the Florida Keys and along the Gulf Coast to northwestern Yucatan in Mexico. They live in shallow water, generally less than 180 feet deep but up to 360 feet deep. As they grow, they migrate seaward to deeper, saltier water. They travel primarily at night especially, at or shortly after dusk and bury themselves in the bottom substrate during the day. When in inshore waters, shrimp like areas with muddy or peaty bottoms rich in organic matter and decaying vegetation. Offshore, brown shrimp are most abundant on soft bottoms of mud and sand.
Shrimp grow fairly fast, depending on factors such as water temperature and salinity, and can reach up to 7 inches in length. They have a short life span, up to about 1 1/2 years. Brown shrimp are able to reproduce when they reach about 5 1/2 inches long. They spawn in relatively deep water. Females typically release about 500,000 to 1 million eggs near the ocean floor. Scientists aren’t sure exactly when shrimp spawn, but they do know that large numbers of newly hatched shrimp enter estuaries in February and March to settle in their nursery habitat.
Brown shrimp larvae feed on plankton (tiny floating plants and animals). Juvenile and adult shrimp are omnivorous and feed on the bottom at night on worms, algae, microscopic animals, and various types of organic debris. Sheepshead minnows, water boatmen, and insect larvae eat postlarval shrimp; grass shrimp, killifishes, and blue crabs prey on young shrimp; and a wide variety of finfish feed heavily on juvenile and adult shrimp.
Brown shrimp are crustaceans with 10 slender, relatively long walking legs and five pairs of swimming legs located on the front surface of the abdomen. They are grooved on the back surface of the shell and have a well-developed, toothed rostrum (part of their shell) that extends to or beyond the outer edge of the eyes. The tails of brown shrimp usually have a purple to reddish purple band and green or red pigmentation.
Shrimp are essentially an “annual crop” – most shrimp do not survive longer than 2 years. Although scientists monitor shrimp abundance to ensure the stock is healthy, abundance is not an important consideration for fishery managers. Instead, managers consider historic harvest amounts and fishing rates in developing a management strategy for the fishery. They also look at the amount of surviving parents and environmental conditions, such as weather and water temperatures. As long as environmental conditions are favorable, shrimp are very productive and can rebound from low abundance one year to high abundance the next.
Brown shrimp have not been classified as being overfished for more than 40 years.
Harvesting brown shrimp
Commercial fishermen harvest shrimp with trawls. Shrimp trawlers tow cone-shaped nets through the water near the ocean floor. The nets are wide in the front and taper toward the back, where the captured shrimp and any incidentally caught species are concentrated.
Who’s in charge? NOAA Fisheries and the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Councils manage shrimp fisheries in offshore federal waters; state resource management agencies are responsible for inshore state waters.
South Atlantic: Shrimp Fishery Management Plan
- Fishermen must have a permit to harvest shrimp in federal waters of the South Atlantic. They must submit reports on catch and fishing effort for each fishing trip and carry a fishery observer on selected trips. Observers collect data on the catch, bycatch, fishing effort, and fishing gear. Information collected through reports and observers helps scientists and managers better monitor and manage the fishery.
Gulf of Mexico: Shrimp Fishery Management Plan
- Fishermen must have a permit to harvest shrimp in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. There is currently a moratorium on issuing new permits to reduce the number of boats participating in the fishery and help it operate more profitably and efficiently.
- Fishermen must submit reports on catch and fishing effort for each fishing trip. They must install an electronic logbook and/or carry a fishery observer on selected trips. Observers collect data on the catch, bycatch, fishing effort, and fishing gear. Information collected through reports and observers helps scientists and managers better monitor and manage the fishery.
- Trawling for shrimp is prohibited in federal waters off Texas from mid-May to mid-July every year. In cooperation with the State of Texas, the Council closes the shrimp fishery off Texas each year to allow brown shrimp to grow to a larger and more valuable size before they’re harvested, and to prevent waste of brown shrimp that might otherwise be discarded due to their small size. This annual closure ranges from 45 to 90 days and is based on biological sampling conducted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. NOAA Fisheries opens federal waters when Texas opens its state waters.
- Scientists monitor shrimp effort as a proxy for the amount of bycatch taken. If shrimp effort exceeds certain thresholds, managers can close some areas to shrimp trawling at certain times to control bycatch.
The three species of penaeid shrimp (white, pink, and brown) make up more than 99 percent of the shrimp harvested in the Gulf of Mexico. White and brown shrimp dominate the annual shrimp harvests in the South Atlantic.
Nearly 97 percent of the brown shrimp harvested in the U.S. comes from the Gulf, mainly from Texas and Louisiana. The 2010 commercial brown shrimp harvest totaled over 80 million pounds, with 48.4 million from Texas and 17.3 million from Louisiana.
Annual harvests of penaeid shrimp vary considerably from year to year, mainly due to environmental conditions. Fishing effort and market prices also influence annual harvests.
The commercial shrimp fishery is one of the most economically important fisheries in the southeast. The 2010 commercial harvest of brown shrimp was worth nearly $150 million.
Recreational fishermen catch brown shrimp seasonally and almost always in state waters. Under federal management, there is no recognized recreational fishery; fishing in federal waters requires a permit. State regulations vary from state to state.
Brown shrimp are one of the three species of penaeid shrimp (warmwater shrimp commonly harvested in the southeast). Penaeid shrimp are generally flavorful and sweet, but vary slightly in taste according to the species. Browns are firm and sometimes have a slight iodine taste. Pinks are tender and sweet. Whites are sweet and firm. It can be hard to tell these shrimp apart, partly because all raw shrimp meat is translucent pink to gray in color. When cooked, their shells are pinkish-red and their meat is pearly white with pink and red shadings. (Seafood Business, 2011)
Year-round, with peaks in the summer.
Shrimp is low in saturated fat and is a very good source of protein, selenium, and vitamin B12.
|Serving Weight||100 g (raw)|
|Fat, total||1.73 g|
|Saturated fatty acids, total||0.328 g|
|Sugars, total||0 g|
|Fiber, total dietary||0 g|
Brown Shrimp Table of Nutrition