New Shrimp Gear Reduces Fuel Costs, Improves Quality

A new publication, “Reducing Fuel Use in the Southeastern U.S. Shrimp Fishery with Vented, Cambered Doors and Braided, Sapphire® Webbing,” explains advancements in shrimp-trawl gear to improve fuel efficiency and catch quality. According to the study, the new gear is a real income builder for the shrimp-trawl industry, even when using conservative assumptions about useful life, fuel saved, even fuel cost over time.

The first part of the publication explains changes that make cambered, steel doors and Sapphire nets a legitimate alternative for operators in the southeast U.S. shrimp-trawl fishery.

The second part of the publication conducts an investment analysis that compares the costs of cambered gear and Sapphire nets to those of traditional wooden doors and nylon nets. The cambered gear and Sapphire nets were found to make economic sense! While the cambered gear and Sapphire nets cost about 50% more than traditional gear, they save money due to a longer useful life, the fact that the Sapphire material does not require twice yearly dipping, and a conservative fuel savings of 10% (which is 6,610 gallons based on data from 1986 to 1997). The cambered gear production costs are a good deal lower than those estimated for the traditional gear.

Generating additional income through cost savings helps make the shrimp industry more resilient to fluctuating dockside prices, higher fuel costs, and below average annual shrimp harvests. In addition, earning more income from fishing increases your retained earnings. Greater retained earnings enable an operator to (a) keep up with preventive maintenance, (b) explore investment in other fuel-saving technologies like state-of-the-art propellers and nozzles, (c) increase brine freezing capacity so larger quantities of shrimp can be thoroughly frozen in each 15-minute, on-deck freezing cycle, and (d) withdraw a portion of those new-found retained earnings each year to fund a personal retirement account.

Industry experts believe the strategy of reducing fuel costs and increasing quality are within the reach of virtually all offshore shrimp producers through the gear improvements and that it will have a significant, positive, lasting impact on the economic well-being of shrimp-trawl businesses.

A related study can be found at:

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