Commercial fishing is an important contributor to Mississippi’s economy. The state has the second largest commercial fishing industry of the Gulf region.
Mississippi commercial fisheries include wild shrimp, lobsters, oysters, speckled trout, redfish, red snapper, grouper, Spanish, king and cero mackerel, dolphin fish (mahi mahi), and other species.
Mississippi commercial fishing ports include Gulf Port, Pascagoula, and others. Mississipi’s Gulf coast, reefs and oyster beds sustained severe damage by the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina. Restoration efforts have been successful and the commercial fishing, aquaculture sectors are productive once again.
Three members of the Penaeidae shrimp family found in Mississippi coastal waters are important commercially. They are the brown shrimp (Penaeus aztecus), the pink shrimp (Penaeus duorarum), and the white shrimp (Penaeus setiferus).
Approximately 85 percent of Mississippi’s harvest is brown shrimp. Juvenile of the species develop in estuaries. Upon maturity, the brown shrimp swim into the open Gulf where they spawn. Brown shrimp are most abundant from June to October, in inshore and offshore waters.
White shrimp are found in shallow waters. They are most often caught during daylight hours, with best catches occurring during the Fall.
Pink shrimp are usually caught at night, being most abundant in winter and early spring. Pink shrimp tend to be associated with in higher salinity waters than some other species of shrimp.
Factors such as water temperature, salinity, available food and habitat area affect the size of shrimp harvests.