Types of Shrimp to Catch

There are about 3000 species of shrimp out of which only 6 species account for 82% of the global catch. This makes things a bit tricky because the distribution of this crustacean varies across the world. Some shrimp prefer to remain at a few meters below the surface of estuaries, while some like to explore for food at the bottom of the lakes. There are some varieties of shrimp that reproduce in cold freshwater bays; there are others that spawn in warm ocean waters. In other words, it is beneficial to know a little about your target species. There are also rules when it comes to shrimping. Check out this awesome site for bountiful information on all types of shellfish:

Few Types of Shrimp

types of shrimp

PINK SHRIMP (Penaeus duorarum):

When cooked, Pink shrimp have a reputation for being sweet and very tender. They are the most commonly harvested shrimp in the state of Florida. While being plentiful throughout southern Florida, they are also common throughout the Gulf coast. Pinks found in warmer waters of the areas mentioned are often a shiny, light pink color while cooler water, pink shrimp will often have a yellowish to brown tint.

Pinks are the largest shrimp species throughout the Gulf and southern Florida waters. This variety can often approach one foot in length. Perfect for the barbeque. Pink shrimp have a typical life span of up to two years. The best time to harvest Pinks is from March through May and again later in the year from October through December. They are easily caught while feeding over sandy bottoms using a variety of techniques or shrimp bait.

WHITE SHRIMP (Penaeus setiferus):

Found during limited months from the central Atlantic coast southward to the northeast coast of Florida and throughout parts of the Gulf, the white shrimp can grow to 8 inches and will commonly live for 24 months or longer. They have a large proboscis horn and long antennae that often grow to three times their body length. White shrimp spend most of their lives in offshore waters therefore, they are typically harvested commercially. However, they are readily caught in coastal estuaries in these areas from late August through early December by both local recreational anglers and vacationing tourists. They prefer soft sandy or mud bottoms in small creeks and bays. They are easily harvested using cast nets, shrimp traps, and using shrimp bait where and when legal.

White shrimp are perhaps the favorite variety for seafood lovers while many chefs prefer them in most of their favorite shrimp recipes. White shrimp have a medium texture and a sweet flavor. We highly recommend you target this species of shrimp if they are available in your coastal area.

BROWN SHRIMP (Penaeus aztecus):

Brownies, as they are typically called, can be harvested commercially year-round in both Gulf and Atlantic waters. They are most bountiful from June through August along the coast and are typically the first shrimp of the season caught by recreational anglers. Their life cycle runs up to 18 months. Brownies can reach 7 to 9 inches in length, but this length can be affected by water salinity and temperature. They are brown to reddish-brown in color with a predominant proboscis horn.

Younger brown shrimp frequent inshore creeks and estuaries where they prefer shallower water with mud bottoms, mixed sand, or broken shells and oysters. Brownies are very active during dark hours and prefer to burrow into the seafloor during the day. They are readily caught by the recreational angler and tourist. They have a firmer texture and a bit stronger flavor than white or pink shrimp.

ROCK SHRIMP & PRAWNS:

While preferring much deeper waters, rock shrimp are a close cousin of the pink, white, and brown shrimp. Typically harvested commercially year-round in the open ocean, rock shrimp are found in the Gulf of Mexico and off the eastern coast of Florida. The rock shrimp has a much harder shell than its relatives; this hard shell is why the rock shrimp got his name. Even though this variety has a sweet taste and tender, chewy texture, it is customarily caught commercially and therefore, not a target of the recreational shrimper. However, for those who are equipped to get off the coast, rock shrimp can be readily caught using bait for shrimp trap or shrimp pots.

What exactly is a PRAWN? Prawns are larger than shrimp with pincers (claws) on the front three pairs of legs (versus just the first two pair on the shrimp). While found in all types of waters and often interchangeable with the word shrimp, prawns are often associated with freshwater environs. However, the distinction between prawn and shrimp is more often relegated to the region or country they are being caught. Whether you call them prawns or shrimp, they are harvested using most of the same techniques. The following YouTube video may answer many of your questions regarding the differences or similarities between prawns and shrimp.

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