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Commercial and recreational marine fisheries

Commercial pink shrimp fishery

shrimp boats
Shrimpers often work together


About the pink shrimp fishery:

The pink shrimp (Pandalus jordani) is found on sandy and muddy bottoms along the West Coast of North America. While they can be found from the Queen Charlotte Islands to Southern California, pink shrimp stocks are centered in Oregon. Pink shrimp are fished by large vessels (50-90 feet) using “double rigged” high rise box trawls. Fishery landings vary widely from year to year, landings in 2017 were 23 million pounds and have averaged 30 million pounds per year over the last 30 years. Pink shrimp are small shrimp (typically caught at 80-150 count per pound) and are marketed as "salad shrimp" or "cocktail shrimp".

Oregon’s pink shrimp fishery is managed as a sustainable fishery. Industry and management have worked together to develop methods to maximize catch while not affecting the spawning potential of the stock, assuring that fishing effort does not affect the long term viability of the pink shrimp stock. As the pink shrimp fishery harvests using fine mesh bottom trawls, habitat and bycatch effects are also researched and mitigated. Bycatch rates in Oregon’s pink shrimp fishery are typically well below 5%.

Oregon's pink shrimp fishery has been certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council since 2007. This was the first shrimp fishery to be certified such (see article). This certification, was achieved in large part via to cooperative work between industry and ODFW which implemented changes in gear reduce bycatch.


Harvest methods
Shrimp codend
Shrimp codend being dumped in hopper

Pink shrimp are harvested using trawl nets. Most of Oregon’s pink shrimp boats are “double rig” boats; meaning a net is set out from outriggers on each side of the boat. Vessels operate only during daylight hours since shrimp migrate up off the bottom at night to feed. Boats work together to locate the highest densities and largest sizes of shrimp.

Codends, the terminal end of fishing nets, are emptied into a hopper where catch is carried by conveyor belt for sorting. The catch is then moved to the hold where it is packed in ice. Fishermen deliver the catch into coastal ports for processing, which is done with machines that cook and mechanically peel the shrimp.


Sustainable harvest
Unsorted shrimp
Unsorted shrimp in hopper
Oregon’s pink shrimp resource is annually managed using season and size. Shrimping is open from April 1 to October 31 each year. This season is set, purposefully to not overlap with the period of time (November to March) when shrimp are carrying eggs. Oregon shrimpers are required to deliver shrimp that average 160 per pound or larger (lower count). Given this regulation regarding size, fisherman move out of areas containing a high percentage of small shrimp.


Bycatch reduction
Shrimp codend
Halibut being safely exiting shrimp net via BRD

Working with industry, gear research has led to highly sophisticated shrimp nets which eliminate a maximum amount of bycatch while not affecting shrimp catch. Two key methods have been developed in recent years to reduce bycatch in the shrimp fishery using light emitting diodes (LEDs) and bycatch reduction devices (BRD’s). The result is a highly valuable shrimp fishery with extremely low bycatch rates (see illustration below).


shrimp net illustration




Kendall Smith- Pink Shrimp Project Leader
Marine Resources Program, Charleston
Phone: (541) 435-4495

Jill Smith- Shellfish Biologist
Marine Resources Program, Astoria
Phone: (503) 325-2462


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