Last night, the Fishery Monitoring Branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries’ Southeast Fisheries Science Center released shrimp landings data from the Gulf of Mexico for the month of December.
Last month, 6.6 million pounds of shrimp was landed in the Gulf of Mexico, up from 5.5 million pounds in December of 2019. Despite being the second highest volume harvest for the month of December over the last five years, the total was still almost 21 percent below the prior twenty-year historical average of 8.3 million pounds.
Across the Gulf, NOAA reported that 71.2 million pounds of shrimp were landed in all of 2020, down from 80.8 million pounds in 2019 and nearly 42 percent below the prior twenty-year historic average (122.5 million pounds). The 71.2 million pounds of shrimp landed in the Gulf of Mexico in 2020 represents the lowest annual shrimp harvest reported by NOAA since at least 2000.
Landings in the state of Louisiana were reported to be just 21.9 million pounds last year, the lowest annual total reported in any year within the Southern Shrimp Alliance’s database and over 62 percent below the prior twenty-year historical average of 58.0 million pounds. Similarly, landings on the west coast of Florida were reported to be 3.1 million pounds, the lowest reported in the database, and 54.3 percent below the prior twenty-year historic average of 6.7 million pounds. Mississippi, at 3.4 million pounds, was at the second-lowest ever reported for the state and 47.4 percent below the prior twenty-year historic average of 6.5 million pounds.
Only Texas, at 32.2 million pounds, and Alabama, at 10.5 million pounds, had anything close to their historic experience in shrimp landings last year.
For December, ex-vessel prices for shrimp landed in the western Gulf for all count sizes were reported by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, but were not reported in the eastern Gulf (Florida west coast) or in the northern Gulf (Alabama, Louisiana, & Mississippi). For the western Gulf, the reported ex-vessel prices last month were, with one exception (41/50 count shrimp), lower than last year.
As in past months, NOAA’s monthly reporting of shrimp landings in the Gulf of Mexico continues to include the following disclaimer:
“BE ADVISED THAT THE SUMMARIES IN THIS REPORT ARE COLLECTED OR ESTIMATED BY THE FEDERAL PORT AGENTS AND MAY NOT REFLECT THE LANDINGS FROM THE STATES”
As previously noted, the numbers reported – and the ex-vessel prices that have not been reported – throughout this year by NOAA appear to indicate that port agents may have been unable to collect information in the same manner as they have done historically.
Ultimately, the harvest volumes reported in NOAA’s monthly reporting are likely to be significantly revised when the agency issues a Fisheries of the United States covering 2020 commercial landings. A historical comparison of the final numbers included in the Fisheries of the United States and the preliminary numbers included in NOAA’s monthly reporting shows that the final harvest figures have had to be significantly revised upwards in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Although generally released in the fall, NOAA has not yet issued a Fisheries of the United States for 2020 reporting final 2019 commercial fishery harvest amounts. However, when this report is ultimately issued, the final landings numbers for 2019 are likely to be substantially higher than the preliminary figure of 80.8 million pounds reported in the monthly reports for 2019.
Please click the following link to view SSA’s compilation and summary of December 2000-2020 Shrimp Landings and Ex-Vessel Prices for December 1999-2020: https://shrimpalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/December-2020-Landings-Final.pdf