Benedict Posadas, Ph.D.
Mississippi State University, Coastal Research, and Extension Center
1815 Popps Ferry Road, Biloxi, MS 39532
July 1, 2018

This analysis is conducted in collaboration with an MSU coastal ecology specialist (Dr. Eric Sparks), an NOAA marine debris program coordinator (Caitlin Wessel), Mississippi Coalition for Vietnamese-American Fisher Folks & Families (MCVAFF), Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United (MCFU), and Mississippi commercial shrimpers. Dr. Posadas developing an economic model which measures the impacts of marine debris on commercial fishing. The data required in estimating the marine debris economic model are collected from a preliminary survey of interested licensed shrimpers in 2018-2019 and intensive logbook trip monitoring of selected licensed shrimpers during the 2019 and 2020 Mississippi shrimp seasons. This analysis is part of a three-year project funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gulf of Mexico Program, Engaging the fishing community to remove marine debris and quantify impacts. Dr. Posadas devoted 8.33 percent (3.33 hr/wk on Wednesdays) of this time to perform the tasks outlined in the project proposal starting on July 1, 2018.. 


The reduction of marine debris in the commercial fishery enhances economic opportunities in coastal fishing counties. Commercial fishing generated total economic impacts amounting to $93.5 million in sales and created 1,600 jobs in Mississippi (NOAA Fisheries, 2022).


The overall goal of this economic analysis is to assess the economic impacts of marine debris on commercial fishing. Specifically, it aims to achieve the following objectives. First, construct technical characteristics of marine debris caught by commercial fishing vessels/boats. Second, compile damages to commercial fishing vessels/boats and gear, and costs of removal and disposal of marine debris. Third, compile lost fishing time, reduction in catches, or foregone sales associated with marine debris. Finally, estimate economic impacts on commercial fishing associated with marine debris.


The economic impacts of marine debris on commercial fishing were estimated using three primary sources of data from captains of fishing vessels/boats registered in Mississippi.

  1. One time pre-commercial shrimping season survey and
  2. Seven daily lsummary reporting of commercial shrimping activities each month from June to October 2019.
  3. Several daily logbooks of commercial shrimping activities each month from June to October 2020.

The pre-fishing season survey collected information about the captains and crew, and the fishing vessels/boats, and fishing gear. This information were collected during the first shrimping workshop attended by 30 commercial Mississippi shrimpers on December 5, 2018. During this workshop, the project details were explained to the shrimpers. The shrimpers completed the survey, registered and were provided the materials for the derelict crab collection project. More shrimpers participated in the survey through the industry leaders. After compiling all the information about the shrimpers, 20 shrimpers were selected from the three coastal counties to participate in the daily logbook and reporting summaries.

The daily logbook and summary reporting gathered information about damages to fishing units and gear, costs of removal and disposal of marine debris, lost fishing time, reduction in catches or foregone sales. During the second shrimping workshop on April 29, 2019, the selected shrimpers were trained on how to complete the daily logbooks and reporting summaries. Seven daily summaries are expected from each of the 20 shrimpers each month for five months starting in June 2019 and 2020. Digital cameras were provided to the shrimpers as well as yellow bags for certain types of marine debris and bottles for water samples. These cameras have GPS capabilities that will show the locations of marine debris encountered by the shrimpers.


Posadas, B.C., E.L. Sparks, S.R. Cunningham, and A.E. Rodolfich. 2021. Qualitative
assessment of the economic impacts of marine debris on Mississippi commercial
shrimping. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 166. Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2021.112245.

Three more journal articles are in review and in preparation.