All About Florida Keys Fishing & Key West Fishing

Rock shrimp, Sicyonia brevirostris

Rock shrimp occur from about Norfolk, Virginia south throughout the Gulf of Mexico to
Cabo Catoche, Yucatan. They are typically found in water 33’–240' deep, but exploitable
populations occur between 112' and 180'. The planktonic stage (from spawning until the first
postlarval stage) lasts for about 30 days (Cook and Murphy 1965). Animals in this stage can be
retained within coastal gyres (Criales and Lee 1995). Maximum life span was estimated to be
20–22 months. Females mature at lengths as small as 0.7 inches carapace length (CL); nearly all
females reach maturity by 1.0 inch CL. Spawning occurs from November to January off eastcentral
Florida, and females may spawn up to 3 times in one season (Kennedy et al. 1977).
In 2005, rock shrimp landings in Florida totaled 554,094 pounds. Gulf coast landings of
rock shrimp accounted for 77% of statewide landings. Rock shrimp on the Atlantic coast were
landed in Duval, Flagler, and Brevard Counties (Fig. 1). The highest landings on the gulf coast
were made in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Franklin and Gulf Counties in 2005.
The 2005 statewide total landings of rock shrimp were 90% lower than the average
landings in the previous five years (2000-2004) and were 90% lower than the 1982-2005
historical average landings (Fig 2). On the Atlantic coast, landings from 1993 to 1995 averaged
about 5.9 million pounds before spiking at 21.8 million pounds landed in 1996 (Fig. 2). On the
gulf coast, landings have fluctuated widely without trend, averaging around 1.4 million pounds
during 2003-2005.
Standardized annual catch rates for rock shrimp follow a similar trend to those found in
the landings. On the Atlantic coast, commercial catch rates increased dramatically in 1996 then
declined and remained low from 1997 to 1999 after a portion of the fishing grounds was closed
to protect the Oculina reefs (Fig. 3). Atlantic coast catch rates have fluctuated since 1992 with
the 2005 rate among the lowest since 1992. Gulf coast catch rates have been consistently low,
except in 1992 and 1998, catch rates for 2005 were the lowest since 1992 (Fig. 4).
Download complete report
(including figures)
Status and Trends 2007 Report
Florida’s Inshore and Nearshore Species
by Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
Upper Keys Fishing
Marine Fisheries News
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