Shrimp fisheries in the Mexican Gulf of Mexico arc limited to the 100-m-depth contour. We investigated potential penaeoidean shrimp resources on the continental slope of the Yucatan Peninsula (southern Gulf of Mexico) during 2 research cruises conducted during spring 1999 (cruise 1; number of hauls, 21; depth range, 300–599 m) and 2007 (cruise 2; number of hauls, 27; depth range, 300–999 m). During both cruises, the catch included 6 penaeoidean species: Aristaeomorpha foliacea, Aristaeopsis edwardsiana, Pleoticus robustus, Aristeus antillensis, Penaeopsis serrata, and Parapenaeus politus. The first 3 species constituted 85% and 91% of the total catch in weight obtained during cruise 1 and cruise 2, respectively. During cruise 1, the mean (± SE) biomass (1.05 ± 0.25 kg/ha) and catch per unit effort (CPUE: 3.21 ± 0.75 kg/h) of the combined species did not differ significantly between 100-m-depth strata. During cruise 2, by contrast, mean biomass and CPUE differed significantly between strata, with the highest mean values at the 600–699-m stratum (biomass, 1.37 ± 0.61 kg/ha; CPUE, 5.14 ± 2.30 kg/h) and the lowest at the 300–499-m stratum (biomass, 0.03 ± 0.01 kg/ha; CPUE, 0.10 ± 0.04 kg/h). High CPUE values (≥5.0 kg/h) were more prevalent at depths of 400–499 m during cruise 1 and 600–699 m during cruise 2. Mean size of shrimp differed significantly between and within species, except for A. foliacea. On average, our CPUE values compare with values obtained in fisheries for deep-water penacoideans around the world, and also with current CPUE values from the shallow-water shrimp fisheries in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, suggesting that these deep-water shrimp represent a potential fishing resource.
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Vol. 29 • No. 1