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Commercial Shrimp

Harvesting, Processing, and Selling

With thousands of miles of coastal marshes, estuaries, and shallow bays teeming with nutrients, Louisiana has ample habitat to foster abundant shrimp populations. White shrimp and brown shrimp are the two most common shrimp species found in our waters. These shrimp resources support the most valuable and the second largest commercial fishery in the state. Louisiana has remained the top harvester of shrimp in the Gulf and has led the United States in shrimp landings every year since 2000.

Shrimp Line

Louisiana’s state waters are divided into inside and outside waters for management purposes. The inside/outside shrimp line separates these waters. The line generally follows the coastline from the Louisiana/Texas state line to the Louisiana/Mississippi state line. Waters landward of the shrimp line are inside waters; waters seaward of the shrimp line out to the three mile line are outside waters. Inside waters are further divided into seven major estuarine basins. The Louisiana Legislature, Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, and LDWF are responsible for managing the shrimp fishery in inside and outside waters. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries are responsible for the shrimp fishery in federal waters.

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Reducing Bycatch

In Louisiana, shrimp fishermen must follow federal requirements for Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) and tow time restrictions to allow incidentally captured sea turtles to escape. Currently, all vessels using otter trawls and all vessels 40 feet and greater in length using skimmer trawls must have properly installed TEDs in their nets.

Skimmer TED compliance GUIDE (English) Skimmer TED compliance GUIDE (Vietnamese)

Also, all vessels operating under tow time restrictions (skimmer trawl vessels less than 40 feet long, pusher-head trawl vessels, wing net vessels, live bait vessels, etc.) must remove and empty their catch on deck within the tow time limit (55 or 75 minutes, depending on season).

LDWF recently conducted a study to characterize the bycatch in Louisiana's commercial shrimp fishery. LDWF and shrimp industry stakeholders contracted with an environmental research company to act as observers on compensated commercial shrimping vessels to document incidental catch of all non-target species as well as shrimp harvest. All commercial shrimp fishermen operating out of Louisiana ports were eligible to participate in this study. LDWF published the results in the fall of 2020; they are available online

— trip tickets —

To monitor shrimp harvests, LDWF requires docks that purchase shrimp directly from commercial fishermen to submit trip tickets to capture information about their catch—what it is, where and how it was caught, and shrimp sizes and quantities. Commercial fishermen who sell their catch directly to consumers are also required to complete and submit trip tickets. This information provides biologists with gear and area specific catch information that improves shrimp population assessments and provides managers with information on impacts of environmental changes and events (such as hurricanes) on the fishery.

Louisiana Shrimp Task Force

The Louisiana Shrimp Task Force (representatives from the shrimp industry and relevant state agencies) is responsible for studying and monitoring the shrimp industry and making recommendations to LDWF, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, and other state agencies on improving production and the economic sustainability of the industry.

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