Program Manager : Elizabeth Scott-Denton

Bycatch Observer
4700 Avenue U
Galveston, Texas 77551

(409) 766-3571 [v]
(409) 766-3508 [f]

Southeastern Shrimp Otter Trawl Fishery

Observer Program Mandate and Authority

Mission of the program
To characterize shrimp trawl bycatch and evaluate various gear types for the reduction of bycatch

Fishery management

Authority to place observers
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, Endangered Species Act.

Voluntary or mandatory

Funding source

Annual program costs

Program duration

Fishery Description

Target species
Penaeid shrimp (brown, white and pink).

Other commercially landed species

Finfish bycatch includes red snapper, groundfish, with Atlantic croaker and longspine porgy being the dominant species both in number and by weight for the Gulf of Mexico.

Incidental takes
One Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, one manatee, and 411 sea turtles since 1992.

Gear type
Shrimp Trawl

Area of operation
Gulf of Mexico - Texas to North Carolina

Fleet size
Approximately 6,000 USCG documented vessels and an unknown number of state registered boats.

Size range of vessels

Annual catch of target species

Number of fishing days per year
250,000 (24-hour days fished).

Season of operation
Year around; highest effort from May through December.

Observer Program Management

Brief overview of program structure

Individuals contracted and supervised by either NOAA Fisheries or the Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation. Vessels are located through Sea Grant agents, NOAA Fisheries port agents, Foundation contacts and fishery associations. Each observer group (i.e., NOAA Fisheries or Foundation) is responsible to get observer to port of departure.


Other participating agencies
Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation

Number of observers

Observers employed by
Johnson Controls, Inc.

Average deployment length

Average observer retention rate

Observers unionized

Observer Coverage

Average number of fishing days

Unit and definition of fishing effort for purpose of estimating coverage
A fishing day is the unit of effort.

Percent observer coverage