Northern shrimp is available fresh and frozen as meat as well as cooked and peeled in the 100/300 size grades. A large supply of small shrimp that is cooked and peeled is available throughout the year. Larger coldwater shrimp have a better, sweeter flavor than smaller sizes and are worth the additional cost, according to some buyers. Coldwater shrimp meat is increasingly being sold fresh and most fresh meat is ungraded. The industry average is a 5% glaze, and those that are frozen, cooked and peeled meats always have a glaze.
Buyer Beware: Additives such as tripolyphosphates commonly used by most processors to make cooked and peeled meat have a tendency to take away natural flavor.
Northern shrimp is a species of coldwater shrimp that grows quickly and has a relatively short lifespan, but they are susceptible to temperature changes.
Northern shrimp is the largest single coldwater shrimp fishery, with stocks found in the North Pacific, North Atlantic, and Arctic oceans. This shrimp’s population can vary dramatically annually, making scientific assessment difficult. A northern shrimp assessment done in 2011 showed that stocks had declined from 2006 to just below the overfished threshold, but that could be due to natural fluctuation. Overall, abundance is considered to be at a medium level.
Habitat impacts (Wild)
Most northern shrimp are caught using otter trawls. Usually this type of fishing gear would cause long-lasting damage to seafloor bottom habitats, but the soft seafloor in northern shrimp fisheries tends to be fairly resilient. Some northern shrimp are caught using traps, which causes fewer disturbances to the seafloor.
Bycatch was once a problem in this fishery but has been greatly reduced since the introduction of a requirement that otter trawls have Nordmore gates, devices that help prevent accidental bycatch of groundfish such as cod. The most common bycatch is undersized shrimp, which remains a concern.
A number of management measures are in place in the northern shrimp fishery, including ones to reduce bycatch and discards. Scientific assessments are done regularly in this fishery, and managers have closed the season early to prevent going over total allowable catch limits and avoid overfishing.