NOAA predicts below average Gulf shrimp catch
Due to cooler than normal spring temperatures, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting the harvest of Gulf of Mexico brown shrimp to be below the historic average.
NOAA scientists are predicting the catch to be 55 million pounds — slightly below the historical 52-year average of 56.6 million pounds — for July 2013 to June 2014 for the state and federal waters off Louisiana and federal waters off Texas.
Most of the shrimp harvested in the U.S. — 68 percent — comes from the Gulf of Mexico, especially Texas and Louisiana. Total domestic shrimp harvest brought in USD 518 million in 2011.
Two environmental indicators — saline water in marshes and winds sustaining tidal height — increased area, but cool spring temperatures were unfavorable for shrimp growth. The result is the below average catch expectation.
“Brown shrimp are important to the economy of Gulf coast communities,” said Roger Zimmerman, NOAA Fisheries Southeast Fisheries Science Center’s Galveston Laboratory director. “They are popular among seafood consumers and as bait used by recreational anglers. We always like to see plenty of shrimp available in seafood markets and bait shops. But this year recruitment of shrimp larvae to the bays was late which may impact their abundance.