Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Pink Shrimp Trawl

Sector Description

The pink shrimp trawl sector off the U.S. West Coast primarily operates in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. Pink shrimp trawl vessels range in size from 38 to 105 feet, with an average length of 65 feet, and can use single and double-rigged shrimp trawl gear. The pink shrimp season is open April 1 through October 31 and vessels deliver catch to shore-side processors. Vessels generally fish in depths ranging from 50 to 140 fathoms. Pink shrimp trawl vessels retain the portion of their catch that is marketable. The portion of the catch that is not marketable or for which regulations prohibit landing is discarded at-sea.

Pink shrimp vessels are required to use bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) when targeting pink shrimp. The primary goal of mandatory BRDs is to reduce the incidental take of groundfish species and protected species such as eulachon. In addition, each state has a maximum count per pound requirement for pink shrimp. Pink shrimp vessels are allowed to land up to a particular weight of groundfish per day multiplied by the number of days fished, but cannot to exceed a per trip threshold. However, since mandatory BRDs were introduced (2003), groundfish species are rarely landed by pink shrimp trawl vessels.

Selection Process

Since 2004, the WCGOP has observed vessels with Oregon pink shrimp licenses and California Northern Pink Shrimp Trawl Vessel licenses. However, pink shrimp fisheries were not observed by WCGOP in 2006. In 2007, the WCGOP combined California and Oregon pink shrimp fisheries into one sampling population for the period Mar-June 2007. Due to regulation differences between Oregon and California, the pink shrimp trawl fisheries were again split into two sampling populations by state for the period Jul-Dec 2007. Since 2008, Oregon pink shrimp and California pink shrimp licenses have been observed as two separate fisheries. Washington pink shrimp trawlers were not initially observed by the WCGOP, as the state had not issued a ruling allowing federal observer coverage of its state managed fisheries. In 2010, the WCGOP began coverage of Washington pink shrimp licenses with the same criteria used for Oregon and California pink shrimp coverage.

State-issued pink shrimp trawl licenses are selected for observation using stratified random sampling. First, the WCGOP determines the amount of time it will take to observe a fleet; this is termed the selection cycle. A selection cycle for the pink shrimp trawl fleet is the length of the fishing season: April 1 through October 31.

WCGOP uses state-supplied permit lists to exclude vessels from selection based on the following criteria:

WCGOP sampling strata consist of groups of ports along the U.S. West Coast. Vessels with pink shrimp permits are assigned to a port group based upon the location of their previous year’s landings. Within each port group, vessels are randomly selected for coverage. In California, vessels have been selected for either a one or two month period, depending on year. Prior to 2010, Oregon pink shrimp vessels were selected for a one-month period but only observed every other trip. In 2010, pink shrimp selection in all three states (Washington, Oregon and California) began covering all trips in a one-month period.

After the entire fleet is selected, a new selection cycle begins. This selection process is designed to produce a logistically feasible sampling plan with observations throughout the entire geographic range. Based on this design and WCGOP funding, the program completes the selection cycle for pink shrimp permits every year.


In some cases, vessels whose permits are selected for a specific period are not covered by an observer during that period or are not covered on all trips during that period. A trip could be waived from observer coverage due to observer availability, a safety issue that can be fixed in a relatively short period of time, or vessel space issues that arise when an extra person is aboard. A longer selection cycle waiver allows the vessel to fish without an observer during all trips taken during the selection cycle. Selection cycle waivers are given when a vessel has a serious safety concern that can not be easily remedied or if vessel space is too limiting to safely carry an observer.

Some vessels might receive a coverage period waiver, which allows a vessel to fish all trips during that period without an observer. Coverage period waivers are given for a variety of reasons including observer availability and vessel safety. If a vessel is given a coverage period waiver for a specific two- month period or sablefish season, the vessel is added to the selection list for the next year (LE sablefish-endorsed) or two-month period (LE non-sablefish-endorsed). Vessels continue to be added to subsequent selection lists until either an observer covers them or until the selection cycle ends, whichever comes first.

Further information on state pink (ocean) shrimp fisheries can be found at the following links:

Pink Shrimp Trawl Reporting

Year of data Year of release Description Format
2010 2011 Data from pink shrimp sector Excel
2009 Oct-10 Data Report and Summary Analyses of the California and Oregon Pink Shrimp Trawl Fisheries full report (pdf)
2008 Oct-09 Data Report and Summary Analyses of the California and Oregon Pink Shrimp Trawl Fisheries full report (pdf)
2004, 2005 & 2007 Dec-08 Data Report and Summary Analyses of the California and Oregon Pink Shrimp Fisheries full report (pdf)