Penaeid Shrimp Regulations

Penaeid Shrimp

Penaeid Shrimp

White Shrimp - Litopenaeus setiferus
Pink Shrimp - Farfantepenaeus duorarum
Brown Shrimp - Farfantepenaeus aztecus

Managed by:


The three species of penaeid shrimp under Council management are white shrimp (Litopenaeus setiferus), pink shrimp (Farfantepenaeus duorarum) and brown shrimp (Farfantepenaeus aztecus).

Physical description:

White Shrimp: Lighter in color than pink or brown; uropods (tail) are typically black near the base with bright yellow and green margins; No grooves along the upper midline of the head and the upper midline of the lower region of the abdomen; long antennae and a long rostrum (horn on the head).

Pink Shrimp: Pink body with azure color on the tail and a dark red spot on the side of the abdomen; Possess grooves along the upper midline of the head and the upper midline of the lower region of the abdomen; these grooves are slightly narrower than those of brown shrimp.

Brown Shrimp: Pale in color; tails have red, dark green and sometimes light blue pigmentations; Possess grooves along the upper midline of the head and the upper midline of the lower region of the abdomen.

(Source: SCDNR, 2013,

Biological description:

These three shrimp species are found throughout the region with pink shrimp primarily harvested off the coast of Florida. All species have similar life cycles with spawning usually occurring in the ocean near beaches to several miles offshore. Spawning typically occurs in the spring and juvenile spend their time in creeks and estuaries before migrating offshore as adults to spawn. It takes 12-14 months to reach adult size and once shrimp spawn they die. Shrimp are bottom-feeding, opportunistic feeders, eating any organic matter – plant and animal.

South Atlantic Federal Regulations


OPEN in NC, SC, GA, & E. FL

The Shrimp Fishery Management Plan allows North and South Carolina, Georgia and east Florida to request a closure in federal waters adjacent to closed state waters for brown, pink or white shrimp following severe cold weather that results in an 80% or greater reduction in the population of white shrimp (whiting, royal red and rock shrimp fisheries are exempt from a federal closure for white shrimp). During a federal closure, a buffer zone is established extending seaward from shore to 25 nautical miles, inside of which no trawling is allowed with a net having less than 4"stretch mesh. Vessels trawling inside this buffer zone cannot have a shrimp net aboard (i.e., a net with less than 4" stretch mesh) in the closed portion of the federal zone. Transit of the closed federal zone with less than 4" stretch mesh aboard while in possession of a Penaeus (white, brown and pink) species will be allowed provided that the nets are in an unfishable condition, which is defined as stowed below deck. The Council has established a control date of December 10, 2003, for the penaeid shrimp fishery in the South Atlantic EEZ. The Council is concerned about the potential for excess harvesting capacity in the fishery. A control date means that, in the future, the Council may consider management measures that limit the participation or effort in the fishery and may use this control date as part of a management strategy.


  • NOTICE: As of April 11, 2006, an owner or operator of a trawler that harvests or possesses brown, pink, or white shrimp (penaeid shrimp) in or from the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the southern Atlantic states must obtain a commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic penaeid shrimp. For information on the regulations and how to obtain a permit, see the Southeast Fishery Bulletin Small Entity Compliance Guide.
  • New Bycatch Reduction Devices Certified for the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Shrimp Fisheries, effective May 11, 2012 Read Fishery Bulletin (English and Vietnamese)
  • NOAA Certifies Additional Designs and Materials for Fishermen Currently Required to Use Turtle Excluder Devices (May 21, 2012) See Fishery Bulletin