(U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Skimmer Trawl)
Avoid shrimp caught by skimmer trawl because there are no effective measures in place to protect sea turtles, which are caught in the fishery as bycatch. Look instead for shrimp caught by otter trawl gear in all U.S. Gulf and South Atlantic states except Louisiana.
Brown Shrimp, Pink 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.
By federal law, otter trawl gear must include Turtle Excluder Devices, or TEDs, that are designed to let sea turtles escape from shrimp nets. All states except Louisiana enforce this requirement. 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.
Louisiana law prohibits state officials from enforcing TED requirements on otter trawl gear used in state waters, putting sea turtles at risk.
For this reason, Seafood Watch recommends that consumers "Avoid" all shrimp caught by skimmer trawl, and to look for U.S. shrimp caught by otter trawl in Gulf and South Atlantic states except Louisiana.