At the beginning of this month, the Fishery Monitoring Branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries’ Southeast Fisheries Science Center released preliminary shrimp landings data from the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic for May 2023.
In addition to the preliminary data, NOAA has released revised monthly landings data for each of the states in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic back to 2002, as well as ex-vessel pricing data for the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic over the same time period. The revisions made by the agency reflect the final landings and ex-vessel pricing data for the relevant time period and correct erroneous preliminary data initially reported.
In result, the Southern Shrimp Alliance has revised its historical databases to be consistent with the agency’s corrected information.
The preliminary data released by NOAA for May did not include any landings data from Louisiana. Historically, Louisiana has accounted for the majority of the volume of shrimp landed in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic during the month of May and without this information, the preliminary reporting for the month is substantially incomplete. Nevertheless, NOAA’s reporting indicates that 2.9 million pounds of shrimp were landed in Texas in May, the highest volume reported for that month in the state since 2018 and 8.3 percent above the prior twenty-one year historic average of 2.6 million pounds for the month. Another 1.3 million pounds of shrimp was reported as landed in Alabama in May, 68.1 percent above the prior historic twenty-one year average of 0.8 million pounds for that month, while 0.5 million pounds was landed in Mississippi, 6.5 percent above the historic average of 456,857 pounds.
Although the 393,000 pounds of shrimp landed on the west coast of Florida in May was 45.4 percent below the previous twenty-one year average of 719,343 pounds for the month, the 343,000 pounds of shrimp landed on the east coast of Florida was 24.7 percent above the historic average of 274,900 pounds for the month.
Over the first five months of 2023, 6.8 million pounds of shrimp have been landed in Texas – the lowest total over that time period since 2015 and 8.8 percent below the prior twenty-one year average of 7.5 million pounds. In Alabama, 4.7 million pounds of shrimp have been landed in the first five months of this year, the highest total since 2018 and 89.5 percent above the historic average of 2.5 million pounds, while another 1.0 million pounds of shrimp were landed in Mississippi, the highest total since 2017 and 47.5 percent above the historic average of 0.7 million pounds. Another 1.3 million pounds of shrimp have been landed on the east coast of Florida, 18.1 percent above the historic average of 1.1 million pounds for the January to May period. At the same time, landings this year in South Carolina (88.2 percent), the west coast of Florida (41.5 percent), North Carolina (34.6 percent), and Georgia (26.2 percent) were all significantly below the prior twenty-one year historic average for the first five months of the year.
NOAA has revised its reporting of ex-vessel prices, such that the agency no longer reports ex-vessel prices for three different areas of the Gulf of Mexico (Western, Northern, and Eastern). Instead, NOAA now reports a single ex-vessel price for the entirety of Gulf of Mexico and, separately, a single ex-vessel price for the South Atlantic. As the result of the simplification of NOAA’s reporting, the Southern Shrimp Alliance now tracks and summarizes prices for all count sizes used by the agency (U15, 15/20, 21/25, 26/30, 31/35, 36/40, and 41/50). The revisions recently issued by NOAA report ex-vessel prices for the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic back to 2002 and the Southern Shrimp Alliance has now incorporated these data into its historical reporting.
For three of the count sizes reported by NOAA – 26/30 ($2.59); 31/35 ($2.31); and 41/50 ($1.54) – the ex-vessel prices reported for this past May in the Gulf of Mexico were the lowest ever reported for any May going back to 2002. Ex-vessel prices for every count size reflected deep declines in May 2023 from May 2022 prices.
Commenting on the revised data made available by the federal agency, John Williams of the Southern Shrimp Alliance observed, “On behalf of the domestic shrimp industry, we are grateful to the NOAA officials within the Fisheries Statistics Division that devoted a tremendous amount of time and effort to make accurate data regarding our commercial fishery available to the public. These data, particularly the ex-vessel pricing information, confirm what fishermen have been seeing all season – a tremendous drop in the value of their catch that does not correspond to any appreciable increase in the volume of shrimp landed.”
Please click the following link to view the Southern Shrimp Alliance’s compilation and summary of May 2002-2023 landings volumes and ex-vessel prices for shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic: https://shrimpalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/May-2023-Landings.pdf