waters. This observation may deserve further exploration by the Council and NMFS.
220.127.116.11 The Gulf Shrimp EEZ Fishery
With respect to the universe of permitted vessels, from this point forward, it is assumed that the best way to characterize this group is to examine the nature and activities of the vessels that presumably would have participated in the fishery and would qualify for a federal Gulf shrimp permit under the moratorium as proposed in Amendment 13 to the Shrimp FMP prior to the impacts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the fall of 2005. Therefore, this is the group of vessels that will be assumed to represent the largest number of vessels that would be able to participate in the EEZ fishery if no action is taken regarding additional measures to cap effort at some lower level.
Dependency on the Gulf food shrimp fishery is considered most important for current purposes, as that component of the fishery is the focal point of management. Physical characteristics are also examined. The data on the distribution of vessels’ revenues and their physical characteristics are broken down further according to vessel size category (i.e. “large” versus “small” vessels). The purpose of examining the data by vessel size is to gain a better understanding of fishery participants, their activities and behavior, and the roles they respectively play in the fishery as a whole.
With respect to statistics regarding the distribution of revenues for the permitted universe, the fact that the standard deviations are consistently close to or larger than the mean values indicates a high degree of heterogeneity within this group. That is, the amount of revenue earned within each fishery differs considerably between vessels. The lone exception is with respect to the percentage of their revenues which come from the Gulf food shrimp fishery. For the group as a whole, most have relied on this fishery for nearly 79% of their revenues. Most vessels, though certainly not all, have a relatively high degree of dependency on the Gulf food shrimp fishery. With respect to physical characteristics, as opposed to landings and revenues, the fleet is much more homogeneous, though some differences do exist.
A primary source of this heterogeneity appears to be vessel size. As would be expected, small vessels generate lower levels of landings and revenues on average relative to their larger counterparts. On average, they are also “smaller” in regards to almost all of their physical attributes (e.g. they use smaller crews, fewer and smaller nets, have less engine horsepower and fuel capacity, etc.). Small vessels are also older on average, indicating the trend towards the building and acquisition of larger vessels in the fishery during recent years. Larger vessels also tend to be steel-hulled. Fiberglass hulls are most prominent among small vessels, though steel and wood hulls are also common. Nearly two-thirds of large vessels have freezing capabilities while few small vessels have such equipment. Small vessels still rely on ice for refrigeration and storage, though more than one-third of large vessels also rely on ice. Some vessels are so small that they rely on live wells for storage, but these vessels are not major players in the EEZ component of the fishery.
Most interesting is the difference between large and small vessels with respect to their dependency on the food shrimp fishery. The percentage of revenues arising from food shrimp landings is nearly 87% for large vessels, but only slightly more than 61% for small vessels. Thus, on average, large vessels are more dependent than their smaller counterparts on the food