Spot shrimp are managed at the state level in the US through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) manages the spot shrimp fishery through a three-tiered permitting system that limits the number of vessels, traps per vessel, and landings per vessel allowed in the fishery. California accounts for the majority of spot shrimp landings along the US West Coast (California, Oregon, and Washington) with the majority of this catch being caught using traps made by those fishers in Tier 1. Commercial fishers in Tier 1 and Tier 3 currently do not have fishing quotas while those in Tier 2 do. The number of traps a fisher can set at one time depends on the individual commercial permit; however, no more than 300 traps can be set in state waters (inside of three miles) regardless of permit tiers. Among additional measures the California DFW establishes are requirements that logbooks be completed after each day of fishing (to provide data on catch and effort) as well as seasonal closures from May to July to protect humpback whales and from November to January (south of Point Arguello) to protect spawning spot shrimp. The state of California currently does not require fishery observers for the spot shrimp fishery and there are no population estimates for spot shrimp in California.
In Washington, the Department of Fish and Wildlife manages the spot shrimp fishery. The fishery is restricted access (as of 1999) with a limit on the number of available commercial licenses. The Washington commercial fishery occurs in the Puget Sound and on the coast – with the two regions being managed separately.
Despite being managed separately, the regions share common management practices such as limited entry, area specific quotas, trip limits, gear restrictions (trap sizes, bans on trawl gears), and a closed season to protect spawning shrimp. In the Puget Sound, fishing quotas are determined by using logbook information and test fishery data. Monitoring is conducted through commercial logbooks, occasional at-sea sampling, pre and post season test surveys, and recreational catch data. Currently, the fishing quota is fully utilized by the state and Tribal fisheries in the Puget Sound. The total allowable catch (TAC) for the coastal fishery is divided equally between a “north” and “south” region. The coastal fishery is monitored through commercial logbooks and dockside sampling. There is little Tribal or recreational catch for the coastal fishery and the fishery has been below the established TAC.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) and the Alaska Board of Fisheries manage the spot shrimp fishery in Alaska. The Alaska spot shrimp trap fishery operates within Guideline Harvest Ranges (GHRs) that are approved, among other regulations, by the Alaska Board of Fisheries and act similar to fishing quotas. Within the GHRs the ADFG sets annual Guideline Harvest Levels (GHLs) which function as fishing mortality targets. If the GHL is exceeded in one of the 21 management areas, that area is closed to fishing. Current data assessments are generally insufficient in estimating appropriate harvest rates for sustainable yield as well as at estimating shrimp population size. As such, the ADFG sets conservative GHLs and in past years, has proactively reduced annual GHLs to account for these uncertainties. The ADFG is also responsible for providing the Board of Fisheries with scientific advice and recommendations prior to each regulation the Board votes on as well as for designing and carrying out implementation plans. Among other measures to manage the spot shrimp fishery include: fishing seasons, size and gear restrictions, and commercial permit limits.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada manages the spot shrimp fishery in British Columbia. Spot shrimp account for more than 90 percent of the landings caught in the multispecies shrimp trap fishery. The fishery is divided and managed on a Pacific Fishery Management Areas (PFMAs) sub-area level. Using catch per unit effort data, managers use a fixed escapement model, the Spawner Index Model, to assess the minimum number of spawning females required for the stock to remain healthy. Based on this estimate, managers set harvest limits for each particular PFMA sub-area. If the limit is reached in a particular PFMA sub-area that area is immediately closed to fishing. Additionally, if the number of spawning females falls to 10 percent above the Spawner Index, then that PFMA sub-area is closed. Among other measures the DFO uses to manage the spot shrimp fishery include: available commercial license limits, restrictions on the number of traps that can be used per license, gear and vessel restrictions, and single haul per day limits. The fishery is considered well managed and landings have generally increased over time.