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Office of the Coordinator of Fisheries
Charlos E. Jackson. ... Asst. Deputy Coordinator
South Interior Bldg.,
Washington, D. C.
Washington, D. C. ...
Chicago, Ill. ......
Al buquer que, N. Med co.........
Division of Fishery Industries
H. Fiedler, Chief .... Interior Bldg. .. ....Fish & Wildlife Service
309 Duval Bldg. ......... Market News Service
Fisheries Technological Laboratory..........
Fisheries Technological Laboratory.....
155 John St. ............ Market News Service
421 Bell St. Term. ...... Market News Service
Division of Fish Culture
. Region #4
... Region 3
... Region #1
In Charge, Shellfish Inv.
Mid. & S. Atlantic Fishery Inv.
Gulf of Mexico Inv.
2725 Montlake Blvd. ....Alaska Fishery Iny,
No. Pacific Fishery Inv.
Rn. 450-B Jordan Hall, ......S. Pacific Inv.
...... Federal Bldg. ....po..
........Jr. Adm. Asst.
......... Chief Agent
Chicago, Ill. .......
College Park, Md. .......
Columbia, Mo. ......
Pensacola, Fla. .....
Chicago, Ill. ........
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Certain preference ratings on PD-1A forms to be assigned by WPB field offices..........
Washington, D. C.
Vol. 5, No. 2
SEASONS, SOURCES, AND SIZES OF GULF SHRIMP
Division of Fishery Industries
Due to the great expansion of the shrimp industry in the Gulf of Mexico during the past six years there is considerable interest not only in when and where Gulf shrimp are produced, but also in the sizes landed at different seasons of the year.
In 1936, the total production of shrimp in the four Gulf States--Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas--amounted to 82,754,000 pounds. By 1940, this had climbed to 126,896,000 pounds, an increase of over 53 percent in five years. In 1940, Louisiana waters produced 98,986,000 pounds of shrimp, or 65 percent of the total production in the United States and Alaska.
Table I . Shrimp Production in United States and Alaska, 1936 - 1940
2,124,000 3,643.500 3,103,800 Louisiana
98,986,000 100,612,500 81,378,900 68,780,900 Mississippi
8,565,600 5,675,800 .9.902,400 23.558,000 Texas
14,779,200 1,173.000 16,364, 700 16,904,800
126,896,100 119,585.300 111,289,500 112,347.500 Florida
8,368,500 8,781,800 10,142,600 14,037,400 Georgia
9,335,500 10,801, 800 10,425,700 9.503,900 North Carolina
4,156,500 4,811,200 4,569,100 4,184,000 South Carolina
1,784,000 4,089,500 3,722,800 1,200,700 Other
2,122,400 2,180,400 2,951,300 2 ,174,500 Grand Total ................ 152,663,000 150, 250,000 143,101,000 143.448,000
1,868,700 53.429,800 17,493,100
9,962,500 82, 754,100 20,724.900 9,714,800 3,815,000 1,100,800
For nearly three years, daily information on the production of shrimp in the more important Gulf ports has been collected by the New Orleans office of the Fishery Market News Service, a section in the Fish and Wildlife Service's Division of Fishery Industries. The data has been published in mimeographed daily Fishery Products reports and in monthly and annual summaries. Tables II, III, and IV show a monthly index of the production of shrimp expressed for each of these ports or areas in percentages of its greatest monthly volume. For each area, the month in which the largest landings were made has been given a value of 100. Production in this area during the remaining months of the year have been expressed in percentages of the largest month or 100. The relative volume of each month's landings is immediately ascertainable by noting the relation of its index number to 100. The nearer the index number is to 100, the greater the available supply. Shrimp used for canning, and those used for other purposes--mainly marketing fresh, frozen, or cooked and peeled, but not for drying--as well as the total of both categories are shown in the tables for 1942 and 1941.
An understanding of the size of shrimp usually available at any given time in any 10cality necessitates some knowledge of the life history of the shrimp. In the Gulf of Mexico, the common shrimp spawns generally in outside waters from March or earlier to September. The young shrimp are carried into the small bays and bayous of the Gulf by the currents. Here they grow very rapidly, some usually reaching commercial size in June or July. As the waters grow colder, in the fall there is a distinct outward movement of shrimp, with the larger individuals migrating first. During the winter, very little growth occurs. As a result, during this period, the large shrimp are practically all in the offshore waters, with only small shrimp to be found in the bays and along the beaches. With the approach of spring, the small shrimp resume their rapid growth, and spawning occurs. The old shrimp gradually disappear during the latter part of the summer and fall to be replaced by the new season's crop. * At present, as Assoc. Marketing Specialist, on a War Transfer to Quartermaster Market Center, War Dept.
As a result of these migrations from inshore to offshore waters, the size of shrimp caught in any area during a given period is largely dependent on the location of the grounds customarily fished by fishermen at the time. In the discussion of each of the more important areas that follows, the "count" or size of shrimp refers to the number of shrimp, with the heads removed, per pound.
Port Lavaca, Texas. --In Port Lavaca, most of the fishing craft are small shallow-draft boats, ideally suited for fishing the waters of Matagorda Bay, but unable to fish in the open Gulf except in very good weather. At the present time, inside waters in Texas are closed to shrimp fishing from July 15 to August 31 and from December 15 to March 1. This tends to concentrate most of the fishery during the late spring and the fall months. During the fall season, beginning in September, the shrimp usually tend to be 33 count and smaller, with the size gradually increasing as the season progresses. By October, they will generally reach 25 count, and even larger. At the beginning of the spring season, the shrimp are usually 25 count and larger. The proportion of large shrimp declines when the new crop of small shrimp enters the fishery in June. Practically all shrimp taken in this section are frozen as soon as landed.
Galveston, Texas. --In Galveston, one finds both the larger and smaller type boats, so shrimp are landed there in considerable quantities even during the closed season in inside waters as the larger boats can fish out in the Gulf. Generally speaking, during the two inshore closed seasons previously mentioned, only 25 and under count shrimp are produced in Galveston. But from March to early in July and from September to November, a considerable portion of smaller shrimp is landed, with the sizes of the smaller shrimp running about the same as in Port Lavaca at the same time. Practically all landings of shrimp at Galveston are frozen,
Morgan City, La, area.--In Morgan City, nearly all of the production comes from the large boats fishing the offshore grounds. As a result, 25 and under count shrimp are landed the year around. During August, September, and October, a small percentage of small shrimp is landed by smaller boats fishing the inshore waters. Tables II and III show that in 1940, July was credited with the largest production, but that in 1941 there was little production during that month. This difference was caused by a change in the State laws under which no fishing except for the local market was permitted during 1941. At the present time, Louisiana laws prescribe a closed seasou for all waters inside the 3-fathom (18 foot) curve between March 16 and May 15 and June 26 and August 15. As the fishery in Morgan City is principally in offshore waters, it appears that these regulations will have little effect on landings in that port. Although most of the Morgan City landings are packed headless and shipped fresh or frozen to Northern markets, a small percentage is canned.
Houma, La. area. --In the vicinity of Houma, most of the boats are small and particularly adapted to fishing in shallow bays and bayous, with only a few of the larger boats being capable of fishing in the open Gulf except in good weather. Under present regulations, the latter part of May and most of June make up the spring season in this area. The fall season begins the middle of August, with production usually tapering off during the winter. During the fall season, the shrimp taken are rather mixed in size, with smaller sizes predominating early in the season and larger sizes prevailing during October. In December and January, when most of the larger shrimp have moved into deeper water, the greater part of the shrimp taken are 50 count or smaller. During the spring season, 30 and under count