California Adopts Pink Shrimp Management Plan 

pink shrimp
Harvested pink shrimp. File photo via NOAA Fisheries.

The California Fish and Game Commission has adopted the state’s first-ever Pink Shrimp Fishery Management Plan, with a goal of reducing bycatch and protecting seafloor habitats. 

The plan, which was approved April 19, establishes a harvest control rule for the fishery, a requirement for the use of footrope lighting devices to aid in bycatch reduction, a procedure to standardized reporting of pink shrimp weight at the time of landing and removes ambiguity about the legality of pink shrimp trawling in state waters. 

Pink shrimp support valuable commercial fisheries from California to Washington and range from southeast Alaska to Baja California but are most abundant from Point Arguello, in Santa Barbara County, California to British Columbia. It is thought that a single genetic stock exists throughout their entire range. 

The shrimp are most abundant off the coast of Oregon, where the largest proportion of that fishery occurs. They are targeted via benthic trawl gear during the day when they are concentrated near the sea food. 

Pink shrimp vessels deliver their catch to shoreside processors, where they are usually shelled, cooked and frozen prior to sale as salad shrimp or cocktail shrimp. Currently, most pink shrimp catch is exported to Europe. 

The latest date available from the Commission shows that in 2015, California, Oregon and Washington fishermen harvested a record 103 million pounds valued at $75.6 million. From 2016 through 2019, West Coast landings ranged from 33 million pounds ($17.2 million) to 52.9 million pounds ($36 million). 

California landings ranged from 2.5 million pounds ($1.7 million) to 5.1 million pounds ($3.7 million), according to Commission data.