Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Marine Affairs and Policy (Marine)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Daniel D. Benetti

Second Committee Member

Juan Agar

Third Committee Member

Christopher Liese


An understanding of how federally-permitted Gulf shrimp vessels have responded to changes in three major bio-economic conditions—shrimp prices, fuel prices, and shrimp abundance—is poorly understood. This research uses three National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) self-reported datasets in order to develop an economic profile of a sample of active vessels in the federal fishery from 2006 to 2009. A financial accounting framework is used to generate vessel-level averages for these vessels. An index of bio-economic conditions (BECI) is developed to summarize and quantify the major exogenous impacts on the fishery. New results on fishing effort, labor and efficiency are generated, and changes in these results are explained in reference to the BECI. Results indicate that the BECI fluctuated substantially from 2006 to 2009, decreasing in 2007 and 2008 before rebounding in 2009. Changes in fishing effort, fuel, labor and fixed costs, show a recognizable relationship to changes in the BECI. The consistent reporting of net losses from operations by the average vessel suggests that unless bio-economic conditions in the fishery dramatically improve or management action that restricts capacity is undertaken, federally-permitted Gulf of Mexico shrimp vessels will continue to struggle economically.


Resource Economics; Marine Policy; Fishery Management; Shrimp; Gulf of Mexico