Most U.S. brown shrimp are caught between May and August, and are usually available frozen as tail meat year-round. Brown shrimp is low in saturated fat and is a very good source of selenium and vitamin B12. Random tests are recommended to ensure that the shrimp that arrives is actually what was ordered.
Buyer Beware: Peeled brown shrimp may be treated with sodium tripolyphosphate to add moisture, but too much will make the shrimp appear translucent and give them a soapy feel. Many fishermen prevent black spots on shells by using bisodium sulfates but overuse causes pitting on the shells.
Although they are short-lived, brown shrimp are highly fecund, which allows them to rebound quickly from environmental factors such as unfavorable salinity and substrate levels that can have a negative impact. Brown shrimp populations, found along the southeastern U.S. from Massachusetts to the Gulf of Mexico, are currently healthy and harvested at sustainable levels. Some brown shrimp stocks in Mexico are increasing. However brown shrimp in the Gulf of Tehuantepec is at risk for overfishing so Seafood Watch labeled it as a moderate concern.
Habitat impacts ( Wild)
Shrimp are primarily caught using otter trawls that maximize contact with the seafloor. This type of trawl can harm marine organisms, disturb sediment, lower sea grass production, and cause an increase in algal blooms. However, most shrimp trawling occurs in muddy, sandy areas that are resilient to trawling. The overall effect of trawling on the habitat is a moderate concern in this fishery.
Thousands of sea turtles are caught in shrimp trawls annually in the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. U.S. shrimpers are required to use bycatch reduction devices and turtle extruder devices. Compliance is good in the southeast Atlantic coast fishery, but not yet at 100%. In addition, the brown shrimp fishery is one of the main causes of mortality in Gulf of Mexico red snapper, which has been overfished for decades. Other species of concern include endangered smalltooth sawfish, endangered Atlantic sturgeon and overfished blacknosed shark.
Despite the use of turtle extruder devices, sea turtle populations in the United States remain endangered or threatened. Commercial fisheries are working on reducing red snapper bycatch through time-area closures and bycatch reduction devices. Observer coverage in the shrimp fishery continues to be low. Management measures include permit requirements, a moratorium on new permits issued, area closures, and some data collection through logbooks. In Mexico, a number of bycatch reduction programs have been created but no targets have been set.