Gulf of Mexico shrimp landings above historical averages, but prices drop

Published on
May 26, 2023
A Texas-based shrimp boat.

Preliminary data released by NOAA indicates that shrimp landings in the Gulf of Mexico were slightly above historical averages in February, building upon solid landings in January, but the price of every size hit their lowest levels since 2019.

Total February landings in the Gulf of Mexico were 1.4 percent above historical average, reaching 2.92 million pounds – slightly above the 2001 to 2022 average of 2.88 million pounds. That total is down from the 4.8 million pounds caught in the gulf in February 2022, which was a historical outlier and record-breaking month.

Landings in Louisiana in the month of February reached slightly over 1 million pounds, ahead of the February average of 751,648 pounds by 34.2 percent. February landings in Alabama, meanwhile, reached 972,000 pounds, 117.4 percent above historical averages.  

Landings in Texas, meanwhile, were 52.7 percent lower than the historical average, with the state catching just 540,000 pounds – less than half of the 1.2 million pounds caught last year. Landings on the West Coast of Florida were also below historical average – the region caught 401,000 pounds of shrimp, 26.3 percent lower than historical average and significantly lower than the record-breaking 1.1 million pounds the state caught in February 2022.

Landings in the South Atlantic were behind historical average, reaching just 210,000 pounds, which was entirely caught on the east coast of Florida. That total is 30.9 percent above the east coast of Florida’s historical average, but NOAA did not report on landings in North Carolina or South Carolina.

As landings trended ahead of average, ex-vessel prices dropped to new lows, according to reporting by the Southern Shrimp Alliance.

“A review of the ex-vessel pricing data from NOAA indicates that ex-vessel prices in the Gulf of Mexico for all count sizes were reported to be at their lowest levels since at least 2019,” the SSA said.

According to the SSA, prices for some sizes were “massively below” prior years. Prices for 15/20 count shrimp, for example, were just USD 4.75 (EUR 4.43) a pound in February 2023, compared to USD 8.63 (EUR 8.05) a pound in February 2022. Prices for 36/40 count also dropped from USD 4.45 (EUR 4.15) per pound in February 2022 to USD 2.46 (EUR 2.29) in 2023.

February 2022, however, was the highest price for U15, 15/20, 21/25, 26/30, and 36/40 counts since 2019. The average price since 2019 of 15/20 count shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico, for example, is USD 6.17 (EUR 5.75), while the average price for 36/40 is USD 3.52 (EUR 3.28).  

Photo courtesy of Warren Price Photography/Shutterstock

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