Oregon Pink Shrimp Fishery Has Slow Start; Fishermen Want to Let Shrimp Grow SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Seafood News] by Susan Chambers – April 3, 2017
A West Coast coldwater pink shrimp season is off to a less-than-stellar start.
Or more precisely, no start.
“I think I’m the only boat in Coos Bay (Oregon) ready to go,” fisherman Nick Edwards said Friday.
The pink shrimp season in Washington, Oregon and California typically starts on April 1. But this year, many boats are still in port and many haven’t even put shrimp nets on their vessels. Female shrimp typically haven’t dropped their eggs yet.
The situation this year is similar to last year. In May, the Oregon fleet agreed to a voluntary “stand down,” to stop harvesting and allow the female shrimp to lose their eggs and the small shrimp to grow. It didn’t last long, as out-of-state fishermen not party to the agreement kept fishing or went to Oregon to fish.
Some of the shrimp on the grounds are in the 350-500 size or smaller. Fishermen said they would prefer to have the 250-350 size or larger, as it fetches a better price. They said much of the current global inventory of coldwater shrimp is in the 350-500 size.
The 2016 season came off an El Nino winter, when expectations that the warm water associated with that weather event would result in very poor shrimp recruitment conditions. But that didn’t happen. The season didn’t live up to the previous six years of record catches, but it also wasn’t the worst post-El Nino season.
The recent winter had warm water conditions in many places, but not nearly as geographically spread out as the 2015-16 winter.
Oregon’s state-supervised price negotiations were canceled in late March. Some fishermen are still talking with their individual processors in hopes of achieving a price agreement. But more fishermen want to hold off and let the females lose their eggs and the age-1 shrimp to get larger.