The White Shrimp (Litopenaeus setiferus) is an abundant species and important to both commercial and recreational fisheries throughout its range (Ball and Chapman 2003).
Three species of penaeid shrimp (White, Pink, and Brown shrimp) comprise more than 99% of the landings in the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery. In recent years, average annual landings of the three species have been approximately 150 million pounds; however, since 2002 landings have declined sharply due to economic conditions in the fishery and hurricane damage, particularly in 2005 when landings dropped to approximately 92 million pounds. (NOAA/NMFS http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishwatch/species/wild_white_shrimp.htm, page updated 1 February 2010)
The White Shrimp was the only shrimp fished in the estuarine waters along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico until about 1937-38, when offshore stocks began to be fished. The resource then declined while landings of Brown and Pink Shrimps increased. By the mid-1950, catches of those two species far exceeded catches of White Shrimp. During 1956-59, White Shrimp constituted only 20% of all Gulf shrimp produced by U.S. fishermen, but subsequently landings began to rise again. Annual landings of White Shrimp in the United States during 1965 were nearly 68 million pounds (whole weight), or about 31 percent of all shrimp landed. (Perez-Farfante 1969 and references therein)
Today, White Shrimp are the second most abundant species (after Brown Shrimp), with 1998 and 1999 landings of approximately 55 million pounds and 2000 landings of over 70 million pounds. From 2000 to 2005, landings fluctuated from a low around 80 million pounds to a high of 130 million pounds. Fluctuation in landings is partly the result of the level of effort in the fishery, which in turn is influenced by expected market prices. A total of about 110 million pounds of White Shrimp were landed in U.S. fisheries in 2008, mainly off of Texas and Louisiana. (NOAA/NMFS http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishwatch/species/wild_white_shrimp.htm, page updated 1 February 2010)
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