(U.S. Gulf of Mexico except Louisiana, U.S. South Atlantic, Otter Trawl)
U.S. shrimp populations are healthy, but shrimp fisheries result in bycatch of sea turtles and many other species. All U.S. Gulf and South Atlantic states, except Louisiana, enforce strict federal regulations to protect sea turtles from otter trawl gear, making otter trawl-caught shrimp from these states a Good Alternative.
Brown Shrimp, Pink Shrimp, Rock Shrimp, Royal Red Shrimp, Seabob Shrimp, White Shrimp, Ebi
Up to five species of shrimp are caught in U.S. shrimp fisheries; the most common species sold in the U.S. market are brown and white shrimp.
Two types of trawl fishing gear are used. Most shrimp are caught by otter trawl and a far smaller percentage with skimmer trawl.
Bycatch is the biggest problem in the Southeast shrimp fisheries, where bycatch is triple the size of the shrimp landings. There are currently no human health concerns about consuming U.S.-caught shrimp.
Thousands of endangered or threatened sea turtles are accidentally caught and killed in the U.S. shrimp fishery each year. By federal law, otter-trawl gear must include Turtle Excluder Devices, or TEDS, designed to let sea turtles escape from shrimp nets. All states except Louisiana enforce this requirement.
Louisiana law prohibits state officials from enforcing TED requirements in state waters, putting sea turtles at risk. In addition, TEDs are not required on skimmer trawls anywhere in southeast waters, and there are no other effective measures to protect turtles from skimmer trawl gear.
For this reason, Seafood Watch recommends U.S. shrimp caught by otter trawl in every Gulf and South Atlantic state except Louisiana as a "Good Alternative," and recommends that consumers "Avoid" all skimmer trawl-caught shrimp and all shrimp from the state of Louisiana.