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All About Florida Keys Fishing & Key West Fishing

    Penaeid shrimps
    White shrimp, Litopenaeus setiferus

    Three commercially important species of penaeoid shrimp occur on both coasts of
    Florida. The distribution of white shrimp, Litopenaeus setiferus, and brown shrimp,
    Farfantepenaeus aztecus, is intermittent in Florida waters. White shrimp do not occur from about
    St. Lucie Inlet on the Atlantic coast around the southern tip of Florida north to about the mouth
    of the Ochlockonee River. Brown shrimp do not occur on the gulf coast between Sanibel Island
    and Apalachicola Bay. All three shrimp species occur in nearshore waters and estuaries and use
    the estuaries as nursery areas. At various juvenile stages, penaeoid shrimp usually inhabit
    seagrass beds and algal mats within estuaries. Stable isotope studies show young pink shrimp
    that recruited to the southeastern Gulf of Mexico offshore fisheries are mostly migrants from
    seagrass meadows (Fry et al. 1999). Adult pink shrimp, F. duorarum, are most abundant at
    depths between 35' and 120'. White shrimp are most abundant in waters shallower than 90', and
    brown shrimp are most abundant in waters less than 180'. White shrimp are typically distributed
    in areas of low salinity over organic-rich, mud bottoms. Brown shrimp are found on similar
    bottoms but in higher salinities. Pink shrimp occur on more coarse sediments and in a wide
    variety of salinities (Steele unpublished ms.). White shrimp grow rapidly until about 6.3 inches
    total length (TL). Peak growth rates are 0.8 inches/month during summer. Brown shrimp can
    grow at peak rates of 1.8 inches/month during spring; pink shrimp peak growth rates have been
    reported to exceed 2.0 inches/month.
    All three species mature during their first year. Sizes at maturity are about 5.5 inches TL
    for white and brown shrimp and about 3.3 inches TL for pink shrimp. Spawning occurs in
    relatively deep water for brown shrimp (49’–360') and pink shrimp (13’–160'), and in nearshore
    waters (20’–80') for white shrimp. White shrimp spawn during April–October. Pink and brown
    shrimp can spawn year-round, especially in deeper or more southern waters. Peak spawning
    occurs during February and March for brown shrimp and during spring, summer, and fall for
    pink shrimp.
    Reported commercial penaeid shrimp landings totaled 17,862,545 pounds in Florida
    during 2005. Most landings (74%) were made on the gulf coast. The geographic distribution of
    landings for each species was different. The greatest landings of brown shrimp were reported in
    the Panhandle region and in Lee County on the gulf coast, and in Nassau County on the Atlantic
    coast (Fig. 1). Pink shrimp were landed mostly in Dade, Monroe, Lee, Bay, Gulf and Franklin
    Counties and in the Tampa Bay Region (Fig. 2). White shrimp were landed mostly in northwest,
    east-central, northeast and south Florida in areas adjacent to extensive saltwater marshes and
    high freshwater run-off. As with some of the brown shrimp reported there, white shrimp reported
    from Monroe County may actually be pink shrimp (Fig. 3).
    The 2005 total landings of penaeid shrimp were 0.5% higher than the average landings in
    the previous five years (2000–2004) and were 6% lower than the 1986–2005 historical average
    landings (Fig. 4). Commercial landings of penaeid shrimp increased on the Atlantic coast from a
    low of about 2.5 million pounds in 1984 to a peak of about 5.4 million pounds in 1999. Recent
    commercial landings figures indicate that there were 4.8 million pounds landed in 2002, 5.3
    million pounds in 2004 and 4.7 million pounds in 2005 (Fig. 4). Gulf coast landings increased
    dramatically, from about 10.6 million pounds in 1992 to 24.6 million pounds in 1996, and then
    dropped to 17.8 million pounds in 1997 before rebounding to 22.3 million pounds in 1998. Gulf
    landings declined after 1998 and have averaged 13.4 million pounds during the period 1999-
    Standardized annual catch rates for all three species generally increased or held steady on
    both the Atlantic and gulf coasts since 1999. Brown shrimp catch rates have fluctuated with an
    increasing trend on both coasts prior to 1996 (Fig. 5, 6). Catch rates for pink shrimp fluctuated
    on both coasts, but peaked in the mid 1990s, declined then until 2000 and exhibited an increasing
    trend during the last five years (Figs. 7, 8). White shrimp catch rates on the Atlantic coast
    fluctuated without a trend until 2003, and have since increased (Fig. 9). On the gulf coast, white
    shrimp catch rates increased from 1992 to 1997, declined between 1999 and 2001 and have since
    increased (Fig. 10).
    Indices of juvenile shrimp abundance were available for pink shrimp. The index of
    relative abundance fluctuated without trend on the Atlantic coast; recruitment of gulf coast
    young-of-the-year pink shrimp shows a discrete declining trend since 2000 (Figs. 11, 12).
    An assessment of the condition of U.S. gulf and South Atlantic penaeid shrimp stocks
    suggests that they are all harvested at or slightly in excess the fishing mortality rates associated
    with maximum yield-per-recruit (Steele unpubl. data). Increasing the size-at-entry to the fishery
    could increase the yield and value of the landings for all three shrimp species. Available data do
    not suggest a strong link between parent stock abundance and subsequent abundance of their
    progeny. Regardless, estimated spawning potential ratios were estimated to be 4%–12% for
    brown shrimp and 13%–39% for white shrimp during 1970–1987 (Nance et al. 1989).
    Nance (1999) found that the parent stock levels for brown shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico
    were up in 1998 at over 300 million age-7+-month-old shrimp for November through February,
    well above the 125 million overfishing threshold and the highest level since 1994. For white
    shrimp, the parent stock number had been highly variable since the mid 1980s and the number
    dropped slightly in 1998 to around 800-million individuals age-7+ months for May through
    August. However, this level is still well above the 330 million individuals overfishing threshold.
    Pink shrimp parent stock numbers were up in 1999 following a slight decline in 1998 to nearly
    250-million age-5+ -month-old individuals for July through June and were well above the 100
    million overfishing threshold.
    Both regional federal councils, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the
    Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, have established fishery management plans for
    shrimp (GMFMC 1981; SAFMC 1993). The main objectives of these plans were to delay harvest
    of shrimps through season and area closures, reduce bycatch, and minimize gear conflicts. The
    SAMFC’s shrimp fishery management plan was instituted to protect the white shrimp stock from
    over-harvest after severe winter cold-kills. This plan allows for the closure of the Exclusive
    Economic Zone after severe winter kills and requires permits as a first step toward possible
    limited entry.
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
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