Wild-caught shrimp from Mexico should be avoided due to poor management, illegal fishing and poor enforcement of regulations.
Blue Shrimp, Brown Shrimp, Pink Shrimp, Seabob Shrimp, White Shrimp, Ebi
A variety of shrimp species are fished in Mexican waters. Most are fished in Pacific waters, with the remainder from the Gulf of Mexico. Brown, white and blue shrimp are the species most likely to be found in the U.S. market.
Although shrimp are generally highly resilient to fishing pressure, many shrimp populations in the Mexican Pacific and Gulf of Mexico have been depleted. Management efforts to protect shrimp populations that include reducing the size of the fishing fleet, seasonal closure of fisheries, creating marine protected areas, and restrictions on gear have produced mixed results. Some shrimp populations are experiencing rebuilding, while others continue to decline. Even where strong regulations have been implemented, poor compliance and illegal fishing continue to plague the Mexican shrimp fisheries.
Fishing methods commonly used in Mexican shrimp fisheries result in a large amount of bycatch. Vaquitas are a critically endangered porpoise endemic to the Upper Gulf of California, and are caught in entanglement nets used by the shrimp fleet. Although entanglement nets have been banned in part of the vaquita's range, the extent of protection and level of enforcement is insufficient, and bycatch from the entanglement net fishery continues to threaten the species with extinction. Shrimp trawls catch other threatened and endangered species including sea turtles, seahorses, sharks and rays. However, Turtle Excluder Devices, or TEDs, which can reduce sea turtle bycatch by more than 90% if deployed correctly, are required in the shrimp trawl fishery. The mortality rates of bycatch species caught in Mexican shrimp gear and the impact on the populations of bycatch species is unknown.
With all of these factors, Seafood Watch recommends that consumers "Avoid" all wild-caught Mexican shrimp.