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1.0INTRODUCTION

1.1.

Background

The species of shrimp managed under the Shrimp FMP are as follows:

Brown shrimpFarfantepenaeus aztecus

White shrimpLitopenaeus setiferus

Pink shrimpFarfantepenaeus duorarum

Royal Red shrimpHymenopenaeus robustus

The three species of penaeid shrimp comprise more than 99% of the landings in the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery.  In recent years, average annual landings have been approximately 150.0 million pounds (MP) (tails); 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 MP.  Brown shrimp provide the largest portion of annual shrimp landings in the northern Gulf with average landings in the 1990's of approximately 80.0 MP.  Landings since 2000, however, have dropped from _______ to only _______ in 2005.  This species is distributed from the Mexican border through Apalachicola Bay, Florida (GMFMC 1981).  Brown shrimp are caught out to at least 50 fathoms, though most catches are taken from less than 30 fathoms.  The brown shrimp fishery is the primary fishery that interacts with red snapper, particularly juveniles, in the northern and western Gulf; and because effort is higher in this fishery for federal waters of the EEZ, total finfish bycatch is higher as opposed to the white and pink shrimp fisheries.  

White shrimp are the second most abundant species with 1998 and 1999 landings of approximately 55.0 MP and 2000 landings of over 70.0 MP.  From 2000 to 2005, landings ___________.  White shrimp are distributed from the Mexican border through Apalachee Bay (Figure 11, GMFMC 1998).  Typically, white shrimp are caught inshore of 15 fathoms, and the white shrimp fishery has a secondary impact on juvenile red snapper, and this fishery is the second largest contributor to overall finfish bycatch.

Pink shrimp landings were approximately 19.0 MP in 1996, but dropped to only about 8.0 MP in 1999 and 7.0 MP in 2000.  Since 2000 landings have remained relatively stable at approximately _____________ MP.  This species is distributed across the northern Gulf from the Florida Keys to Mexico; however, they are most common in the Tortugas and Sanibel areas off Florida (GMFMC 1980).  Pink shrimp are usually taken from waters less than 25 fathoms with the majority of catch being harvested in 11 to 15 fathoms.  There are minimal impacts to red snapper from the pink shrimp fishery because the amount of effort expended in the northern and western Gulf is small compared to Florida, and particularly the south Florida area of the Tortugas.  In this area, the major bycatch component is invertebrates.

1.2

Purpose and Need for Action

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (M-SFCMA) requires NOAA Fisheries and regional fishery management councils (Councils) to prevent overfishing, and to achieve, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield (OY) of federally managed fish stocks.  The purpose of these mandates is to ensure fishery resources are exploited in a way that provides

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