Report: Shrimp bycatch remains a problem here
Coldwater commercial shrimp fisheries have greatly reduced bycatch, but overall shrimp trawling accounts for more bycatch volume than any other fishery type according to a new report
The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) found that, among the coldwater shrimp fisheries sampled, bycatch is generally 10 percent or less of the harvest and annual bycatch volumes do not exceed 2,500 metric tons (MT). However, harvests of the warmwater shrimp fisheries surveyed comprised 75 percent or more bycatch, and the majority of these fisheries have annual bycatch volumes of over 100,000 MT, according to SFP.
More than half of warmwater shrimp fishery volume was rated as “high risk” or “data deficient” for the categories analyzed (impacts, management, monitoring, compliance/enforcement). “High-volume, multispecies trawl fisheries in Asia contributed prominently to these volumes and information necessary to assess fishery impacts was particularly lacking among warmwater shrimp fisheries,” according to a statement from SFP.
To highlight bycatch and other issues in the Asian shrimp trade, SFP will release a separate report late this year on both aquaculture and wild fisheries in Asian countries. “As Asia accounts for 85 percent of global shrimp aquaculture production and 74 percent of global wild shrimp capture, we’d really like to see the industry mobilize around improvements there,” said Nicole Portley, author of the report.
However, SFP noted improvements on both warmwater and coldwater shrimp fisheries. Several warmwater shrimp fisheries received “low” and “medium” risk ratings, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of California, Northern Australia, and Suriname trawl fisheries. Coldwater fisheries that performed well included Northern prawn fisheries in Atlantic Canada, West Greenland and the Barents Sea, along with Oregon pink shrimp.
“Fisheries that required use of bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) and turtle excluder devices (TEDs) have achieved meaningful reductions in the proportions of their harvests comprising bycatch,” SFP stated. For example, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed a bill – supported by the shrimp industry – allowing for state enforcement of federal TED regulations in state waters in July.
“The seafood supply chain can play an important role in reducing bycatch in the shrimp industry by supporting fishery improvement projects that aim to modify fishing gear and practices. We hope to see the bycatch situation improve as engagement in the shrimp sector grows,” said Kathryn Novak, director of buyer engagement for SFP.