A large deepwater shrimp, royal red shrimp are not like the other popular shrimp species in the Gulf. They don’t depend on estuaries for nursery habitat and instead spend their entire lives in waters between more than 800 and 1,500 feet deep. They’re found from Massachusetts through the Gulf and Caribbean to French Guiana. In the Gulf, commercially harvestable concentrations of royal red shrimp are found off the Dry Tortugas in the Florida Straits and off the Mississippi River Delta, and only a few deepwater trawlers are licensed to harvest these delicate, sweet-tasting shrimp.
Since royal red shrimp are only found offshore in federal waters, federal authorities including NOAA Fisheries and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council are responsible for monitoring and managing them. Gulf state and federal enforcement agents partner to enforce fisheries laws and regulations. The Gulf states also help collect data on commercial and recreational fisheries for royal red shrimp, providing important information to support management of this valuable resource.
The status of the royal red shrimp population in the Gulf is currently unknown but it is harvested at an appropriate level (no overfishing). For more information about royal red shrimp, see the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s site.