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Pink (Ocean) Shrimp Enhanced Status Report

Table of Contents

2. The Fishery

2.1 Location of the Fishery

The Pink Shrimp fishery is currently split into a northern and southern region, with Point Conception as the dividing line. Within the northern region, the primary Pink Shrimp beds have historically been located between Eureka and the Oregon border, in an area immediately north of Fort Bragg (Figure 2-1a). Additionally, commercially harvestable densities of Pink Shrimp are sometimes present off Morro Bay (Figure 2-1b). In the southern region, lower densities of Pink Shrimp are sometimes harvested along the mainland in the Santa Barbara Channel (Figure 2-1b) (CDFG 2007).
Figure 2-1. Historical Pink Shrimp trawl locations in a) northern California and b) southern California (CDFW 2018).

2.2 Fishing Effort

2.2.1 Number of Vessels and Participants Over Time
The Pink Shrimp fishery developed in the early 1950s after Department research cruises found Pink Shrimp beds that could support a commercial fishery. The number of active vessels increased between the 1970s and mid-1990s, before declining to an all-time low in 2006 (Figure 2-2). The number of active vessels has increased steadily in the last 10 yr.

The total number of permits issued in California peaked at 315 in 1994. The state was divided into a northern and southern region in 2001, and fishing in each region requires a separate permit. The northern region was designated as a limited entry fishery from the California-Oregon border to Point Conception, and the southern region was designated as an open access fishery from Point Conception to the California-Mexico border. The number of permits issued in both the northern and southern regions has declined since 2001, when a restricted access program with a capacity goal of 75 permits was instituted. In 2003, a voluntary federal buyout instituted for groundfish trawl vessel permits removed almost one-half the capacity of the west coast trawl fleet. The total number of permits issued has further decreased since that time, stabilizing at around 35 in the northern region and 15 in the southern region. Thirty-two of the permits in the northern region are transferrable and three are non-transferrable.

Fishing effort can be measured in three different ways: 1) number of vessels fishing per season, 2) number of trips per season, and 3) fishing hours. The number of vessels fishing may vary from year to year in response to fluctuations in either abundance or price per lb. For this reason, number of trips or hours fished may be a more accurate and standardized way to measure fishing effort. More detailed effort data is not currently available for California, but in Oregon the number of fishing hours per season has shown more year to year variation than either the number of vessels or the number of trips (ODFW 2013).

Figure 2-2. Participation (active vessels) and landings (million lb) in the Pink Shrimp fishery, 1970-2017 (CDFW Commercial Fisheries Information System 2018).
2.2.2 Type, Amount, and Selectivity of Gear
Pink Shrimp are targeted via benthic trawl gear during the day when they are concentrated near the sea floor. The average vessel in the shrimp fleet between 2001 and 2006 was 59 ft long (Frimodig et al. 2009).

Prior to 1974 only single-rigged vessels were used (Figure 2-3a). From 1952 to 1963, Pink Shrimp fishermen were limited to the use of beam trawls with a minimum mesh size of 1.5 in (38 mm) between the knots. Following the 1963 season, the use of otter trawls with the same size mesh was also permitted. In 1975, the mesh size was reduced to 1.38 in (36 mm) north of Pigeon Point. After double-rigged vessels entered the fishery, they made up approximately 25% of the California fleet in the late 1970s, and increased to nearly 50% of the fleet during the 1980s and 1990s.

Today, most vessels in the northern fleet use a double-rigged vessel, which has an otter trawl on each side of the vessel (Figure 2-3b), while a majority of fishermen in the southern fleet use single-rigged vessels, which drag a single trawl. It is thought that a double-rigged trawl is 1.6 times more efficient than a single-rigged trawl. All shrimp trawl vessels are required to use Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRDs), and the type of BRD used is influenced by the configuration of otter trawls (CDFG 2007).

BRDs have been required since 2002 on all nets used in the Pink Shrimp fishery in order to protect overfished groundfish species (California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 14 §120.1). Several types of BRDs may be used in the California fishery, including the rigid-grate excluders, soft-panel excluders, and fisheye excluders. However, rigid-grate BRDs are generally considered to be the most efficient in reducing fish bycatch with minimal Pink Shrimp loss (Figure 2-4). The vast majority of current, active vessel operators in both California and Oregon have been using this type of BRD since 2003.

Figure 2-3. Diagrams of a) a single-rigged vessel pulling one otter trawl, and b) a double-rigged vessel pulling two otter trawls used on Pink Shrimp vessels (Reproduced from Jones et al. 1996).
Figure 2-4. Diagram of a rigid-grate BRD used in the Pink Shrimp fishery. The diagram depicts shrimp traveling through the BRD, and larger fish being deflected by the BRD and guided through the escape hatch (Photo Credit: Robert Hannah, ODFW).

2.3 Landings in the Recreational and Commercial Sectors

2.3.1 Recreational
There has never been a recreational fishery for Pink Shrimp (CDFG 2008).
2.3.2 Commercial
Pink Shrimp landings peaked in the late 1980s and 1990s, and decreased from a high of over 18 million lb in 1997 to a record low of 0.15 million lb in 2006 (Figure 2-5). Fluctuations in landings are primarily thought to reflect natural variability in the Pink Shrimp population size from year to year due to environmental conditions (Hannah 1993; Hannah 2010), but this decrease in landings also reflects reduced fishing effort (Figure 2-2). Annual landings were below average in both California and Oregon from 2000 to 2010. Landings increased from 2010 to 2015 but have declined since 2015. 90% of the state’s landings have occurred in northern California since 2001.

From 1981 through 2006, 18% of the total west coast catch of Pink Shrimp was landed in California ports, 57% was landed in Oregon ports, and 25% was landed in Washington ports (Frimodig et al. 2009). There are also a significant number of vessels licensed in Oregon that fish in California waters but land in Oregon. In 2015, 32 Oregon vessels caught 6.3 million lb of Pink Shrimp in federal waters off California (82% of 2015 California landings). California vessels also fish in Oregon waters, but this represents a much smaller percentage of the total landings. Catch per trip has been increasing since the 1980s (Figure 2-6), suggesting that Pink Shrimp trawlers are becoming more efficient (Figure 2-7).

Figure 2-5. Pink Shrimp landings (million lb) and value (million dollars), 1970-2017 (CDFW Commercial Fisheries Information System 2018).
Figure 2-6. Catch per trip of Pink Shrimp, 1970-2017 (CDFW Commercial Fisheries Information System 2018).
Figure 2-7. Pink Shrimp on a trawl vessel deck (Photo Credit: NOAA).

2.4 Social and Economic Factors Related to the Fishery

Pink Shrimp vessels deliver their catch to shore side processors (NWFSC 2010), where they are usually shelled, cooked and frozen prior to sale (CDFG 2008). They are sold as salad shrimp or cocktail shrimp. Currently, most of the Pink Shrimp catch is exported to Europe. European markets place a high value on Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, driving the Oregon fleet to obtain MSC certification in 2007. In 2015 both the Washington and California fisheries applied for Pink Shrimp MSC certification. Washington was approved while California was not due to deficient scores in the Management System category, due in part to a lack of an FMP with clear targets and limits.

The ex-vessel value of the Pink Shrimp fishery has ranged from $0-7 million dollars (Figure 2-5). In 2015, California, Oregon, and Washington fishermen harvested 103 million lb of Pink Shrimp for a total value of $75.6 million. These numbers dropped by roughly 50% in 2016 to 52.87 million lb and a total value of $36 million, and declined again in 2017 to 33 million lb with a total value of $17.2 million. The majority of landings have come from Crescent City (78%), followed by Eureka (16%) and Morro Bay (6%) (Figure 2-8).

Shrimp price and abundance play important roles in determining fleet size in the Pink Shrimp fishery. The price per lb peaked at $0.87 in 1987, coinciding with a time period of very high landings (CDFG 2008). The average ex-vessel price of shrimp has varied between $0.30 and $0.53 per lb since 2002 (Table 2-1). Since 2007, the majority of catch has been from off Eureka in northern California with landings primarily into the Crescent City and Eureka ports. Currently, Eureka is the only port with a shrimp processor and landings in all other ports must be iced and trucked to a processor. Processor capacity has a significant influence on the price paid per lb.

A combination of economic factors in addition to poor recruitment levels may explain the reduction in landings during the mid 2000s, including competition from other shrimp fisheries, increased aquaculture production worldwide, higher fuel prices, and limited processor availability (CDFG 2008). Processors can impose trip limits on shrimp fishermen according to the plant’s processing ability (Figure 2-9). Pink Shrimp are subject to a landing fee of $.0047 per lb. All of these factors suggest that economics can be just as influential as abundance in dictating fishing behavior in this fishery.

In the early 2000s there was a great deal of latent capacity in the Pink Shrimp fishery. Less than 50% of the purchased permits were actively fished in the northern region, and less than 25% were fished in the southern region. Participants in the Pink Shrimp fishery are often also engaged in the groundfish and Dungeness crab fisheries. In 2003, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) implemented a federal groundfish fishing capacity reduction program, in which 31 vessel permits in California were bought and retired, resulting in a large decrease in the total fleet size and number of trawl fishery participants.

Figure 2-8. Pink Shrimp percentage of total landings by port in 2017 (CDFW Commercial Fisheries Information System 2017).
Figure 2-9. Pink Shrimp processing (Photo Credit: CDFW).
Table 2-1. Poundage, ex-vessel value, and price
per lb for Pink Shrimp, from 2001 to 2016 (CDFW Commercial Fisheries Information System 2017).

Version: The Pink Shrimp Enhanced Status Report was updated in print and online in 2019.

Download: Pink Shrimp Enhanced Status Report (2019) (pdf)

Contact Us: To contact CDFW regarding the Pink Shrimp fishery, please email invert@wildlife.ca.gov or call (831) 649-2870.

Citation: California Department of Fish and Wildlife. 2019. Pink (Ocean) Shrimp, Pandalus jordani, Enhanced Status Report.

Contributor(s): Julia Coates (2019)

Pink (Ocean) Shrimp Enhanced Status Report (2019)

Table of Contents
  1. The Species
    1. Natural History
      1. Species Description
      2. Range, Distribution, and Movement
      3. Reproduction, Fecundity, and Spawning Season
      4. Natural Mortality
      5. Individual Growth
      6. Size and Age at Maturity
    2. Population Status and Dynamics
      1. Abundance Estimates
      2. Range, Distribution, and Movement
      3. Age Structure of the Population
    3. Habitat
    4. Ecosystem Role
      1. Associated Species
      2. Predator-prey Interactions
    5. Effects of Changing Oceanic Conditions
  2. The Fishery
    1. Location of the Fishery
    2. Fishing Effort
      1. Number of Vessels and Participants Over Time
      2. Type, Amount, and Selectivity of Gear
    3. Landings in the Recreational and Commercial Sectors
      1. Recreational
      2. Commercial
    4. Social and Economic Factors Related to the Fishery
  3. Management
    1. Past and Current Management
      1. Overview and Rationale for the Current Management Framework
        1. Criteria to Identify When Fisheries Are Overfished or Subject to Overfishing, and Measures to Rebuild
        2. Past and Current Stakeholder Involvement
      2. Target Species
        1. Limitations on Fishing for Target Species
          1. Catch
          2. Effort
          3. Gear
          4. Time
          5. Sex
          6. Size
          7. Area
          8. Marine Protected Areas
        2. Description of and Rationale for Any Restricted Access Approach
      3. Bycatch
        1. Amount and Type of Bycatch (Including Discards)
        2. Assessment of Sustainability and Measures to Reduce Unacceptable Levels of Bycatch
          Discard Mortality
          Impact on Fisheries that Target Bycatch Species
          Bycatch of Overfished, Threatened, or Endangered Species
          Measures to Reduce Bycatch
      4. Habitat
        1. Description of Threats
        2. Measures to Minimize Any Adverse Effects on Habitat Caused by Fishing
    2. Requirements for Person or Vessel Permits and Reasonable Fees
  4. Monitoring and Essential Fishery Information
    1. Description of Relevant Essential Fishery Information
      Biological Information
      Fishery-dependent Indicators
      Environmental Indicators
    2. Past and Ongoing Monitoring of the Fishery
      1. Fishery-dependent Data Collection
        Monitoring of Bycatch Rates
      2. Fishery-independent Data Collection
  5. Future Management Needs and Directions
    1. Identification of Information Gaps
    2. Research and Monitoring
      1. Potential Strategies to Fill Information Gaps
      2. Opportunities for Collaborative Fisheries Research
    3. Opportunities for Future
      Management of the Target Stock
      Bycatch
      Restricted Access
      Stakeholder Communication
    4. Climate Readiness
List of Acronyms
ABC: Allowable Biological Catch
BRD: Bycatch Reduction Device
CCR: California Code of Regulations
CDFG: California Department of Fish and Game
CDFW: California Department of Fish and Wildlife
CPUE: Catch Per Unit Effort
EFH: Essential Fish Habitat
EIS: Environmental Impact Statement
ESA: Endangered Species Act
ESR: Enhanced Status Report
FCG: Fish and Game Code
FMP: Fishery Management Plan
HCR: Harvest Control Rule
IBC: Indicators of Biological Concern
LED: Light Emitting Diode
MLMA: Marine Life Management Act
MPA: Marine Protected Area
MSC: Marine Stewardship Council
NMFS: National Marine Fisheries Service
ODFW: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
PFMC: Pacific Fishery Management Council
PSTG: Pink Shrimp Trawl Grounds
RCA: Rockfish Conservation Area
WCGOP: West Coast Groundfish Observer Program
List of Figures

Figure 1-1. Range of Pink Shrimp.

Figure 1-2. Three size (age) classes of Pink Shrimp.

Figure 1-3. Annual age composition (percent) of Pink Shrimp landed in Oregon, 1975-2017.

Figure 1-4. Pink Shrimp habitat.

Figure 2-1. Historical Pink Shrimp trawl locations in a) northern California and b) southern California.

Figure 2-2. Participation (active vessels) and landings (million lb) in the Pink Shrimp fishery, 1970-2017.

Figure 2-3. Diagrams of a) single-rigged vessel pulling one otter trawl, and b) double-rigged vessel pulling two otter trawls used on Pink Shrimp vessels.

Figure 2-4. Diagram of a rigid-grate BRD used in the Pink Shrimp fishery.

Figure 2-5. Pink Shrimp landings (million lb) and value (million dollars), 1970-2017.

Figure 2-6. Catch per trip of Pink Shrimp, 1970-2017.

Figure 2-7. Pink Shrimp on a trawl vessel deck.

Figure 2-8. Pink Shrimp percentage of total landings by port in 2017.

Figure 2-9. Pink Shrimp processing.

Figure 5-1. Eulachon in trawls a) without and b) with LED lights in Pink Shrimp landings.

List of Tables

Table 2-1. Poundage, ex-vessel value, and price per pound for Pink Shrimp, from 2000 to 2014 (most recent year of data).

Table 3-1. Observed catch of groundfish by Pink Shrimp trawlers in California, 2014.

Table 3-2. Observed catch of non-groundfish by Pink Shrimp trawlers in California, 2014.

Table 3-3. Pink Shrimp bycatch of the California fleet vs. ABC of rebuilding or recently rebuilt species.

Table 3-4. List of fees for Pink Shrimp trawl vessel permits.

Table 5-1. Informational needs for Pink Shrimp and their priority for management.

Literature Cited

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Hannah RW. 2010. Use of a pre-recruit abundance index to improve forecasts of ocean shrimp (Pandalus jordani) recruitment from environmental models. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations Reports. No 51. 219 p.

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Hannah RW, Lomeli MJ, Jones SA. 2015. Tests of artificial light for bycatch reduction in an ocean shrimp (Pandalus jordani) trawl: strong but opposite effects at the footrope and near the bycatch reduction device. Fisheries Research 170:60-67.

Jones SA, Hannah RW, Golden JT. 1996. A Survey of Trawl Gear Employed in the Fishery for Ocean Shrimp. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Information Reports Number 96-6. Accessed 01 May 2018. https://nrimp.dfw.state.or.us/CRL/Reports/Info/96-6.pdf

Last K, Hendrick V, Sotheran I, Foster-Smith B, Foster-Smith D, Hutchison Z. 2012. Assessing the Impacts of Shrimp Fishing on Sabellaria spinulosaReef and Associated Biodiversity in the Wash and North Norfolk SAC, Inner Dowsing Race Bank North Ridge SAC and Surrounding Areas. Report for Natural England. May 2012. 48 p.

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National Research Council (NRC). 2002. Effects of trawling and dredging on seafloor habitat. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 136 p.

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Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC). 2010. Data report and summary analyses of the California and Oregon Pink Shrimp trawl fishery. West Coast Groundfish Observer Program. National Marine Fisheries Service. 30 p.

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Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). 2014a. Annual Pink Shrimp review. Accessed 01 May 2018.  http://www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp/publications/docs/shrimp_newsletter2014.pdf.

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