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 March.
Last month, 2.7 million pounds of shrimp were landed in the Gulf of Mexico, up from 2.0 million pounds in March of 2020 and 2.4 million pounds in March of 2019. The volume of shrimp landed in the region last month was the highest total reported for a March since 2017 (3.7 million pounds). Overall, the total was 13.3 percent above the prior twenty-year historical average of 2.3 million pounds for the month.
In Texas, landings last month (1.5 million pounds) were the second highest recorded for any March since 2001, below just the 1.8 million pounds landed in March 2016. The volume of shrimp landed in Texas last month was 63.2 percent above the prior twenty-year historical average of 0.9 million pounds.
While the volume of shrimp landed in Mississippi was not reported for the fourth straight March, landings in the rest of the states were up from March 2020.
The first quarter of 2021 concluded with a total of 10.2 million pounds of shrimp landed across the Gulf of Mexico. Over half of these landings were in Texas, where the 5.4 million pounds of shrimp harvested over the first three months of this year is far and away the highest total reported in the dataset maintained by the Southern Shrimp Alliance going back to 2001.
The overall significance of Gulf shrimp landings over the first three months of the year is limited. Historically, the first two quarter only accounts for between 5 and 11 percent of the total annual harvest of shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico.
Ex-vessel prices for shrimp landed in March in the western Gulf for all count sizes were reported by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, while ex-vessel prices were reported by NOAA for four count sizes (U15; 15/20; 21/25; and 26/30) in the eastern Gulf (Florida west coast) and none were reported for the northern Gulf (Alabama, Louisiana, & Mississippi). With the exceptions of U15 and 31/35 count size shrimp, the ex-vessel prices reported for all other count sizes were significantly above the prices for the same count sizes reported in March the last couple of years.
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”
The landing numbers reported – and the ex-vessel prices that have not been reported – throughout the last couple of years by NOAA appear to indicate that port agents may have been unable to collect information in the same manner as they have done historically.
Please click the following link to view SSA’s compilation and summary of March 2001-2021 Shrimp Landings and Ex-Vessel Prices for March 2001-2021 in the Gulf of Mexico: https://shrimpalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/March-2021-Landings.pdf