Pandalus borealis

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Pandalus borealis
Woda-6 ubt.jpeg
Shelled northern shrimp.jpg
Living at Nordsøen Oceanarium (above), deshelled as typically sold for human consumption (below)
Scientific classification
P. borealis
Binomial name
Pandalus borealis
Krøyer, 1838

Pandalus borealis is a species of caridean shrimp found in cold parts of the northern Atlantic and northern Pacific Oceans,[1] although the latter population now often is regarded as a separate species, P. eous.[2] The FAO refers to them as the northern prawn. Other common names include pink shrimp, deepwater prawn, deep-sea prawn, Nordic shrimp, great northern prawn, northern shrimp,[1] coldwater prawn and Maine shrimp.


P. borealis usually lives on a soft muddy bottoms at depths of 20 to 1,330 m (66–4,364 ft),[1] in waters with a temperature of 0 to 8 °C (32–46 °F),[3] although it has been recorded from 9 to 1,450 m (30–4,757 ft) and −2 to 12 °C (28–54 °F).[4] The distribution of the North Atlantic nominate subspecies P. b. borealis ranges from New England in the United States, Canada's eastern seaboard (off Newfoundland and Labrador and eastern Baffin Island in Nunavut), southern and eastern Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard, Norway and the North Sea as far south as the English Channel. The North Pacific P. b. eous is found from Japan and Korea, through the Sea of Okhotsk, across the Bering Strait, and as far south as the U.S. state of California.[1] Instead of regarding it as a subspecies, the North Pacific population is often recognized as a separate species, P. eous.[2]


In their up to eight-year lifespan,[5] males can reach a length of 12 cm (4.7 in), while females can reach 16.5 cm (6.5 in) long,[1] although typical sizes are much smaller.[5]

The shrimp are hermaphroditic. They start out male, but after a year or two, their testes turn to ovaries and they complete their lives as females.[5]

Commercial fishing[edit]

Global capture of Pandalus borealis in tonnes reported by the FAO, 1950–2010 [6]
Hauled aboard a shrimp boat

P. borealis is an important food resource, and has been widely fished since the early 1900s in Norway, and later in other countries following Johan Hjort's practical discoveries of how to locate them. In Canada, these shrimp are sold peeled, cooked and frozen in bags in supermarkets, and are consumed as appetizers.

Northern shrimp have a short life, which contributes to a variable stock on a yearly basis. However, the species is not considered overfished due to a large amount reported and a large amount harvested.

In Canada, the annual harvest limit is set to 164,000 tonnes (2008).[5] The Canadian fishery began in the 1980s and expanded in 1990s.

In 2013, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (which covers the Atlantic seaboard of the United States) determined that their stocks of P. borealis were too low and shut down the New England fishery. This was the first cancellation in 35 years.[7]


Beyond human consumption, shrimp alkaline phosphatase (SAP), an enzyme used in molecular biology, is obtained from Pandalus borealis, and the species' carapace is a source of chitosan, a versatile chemical used for such different applications as treating bleeding wounds, filtering wine or improving the soil in organic farming.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Pandalus borealis (Krøyer, 1838)". Species Fact Sheet. Food and Agriculture Organization. Retrieved November 2, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Fransen, Charles (2019). "Pandalus Leach, 1814". WoRMS. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 24 December 2019.
  3. ^ Muus, B., J. G. Nielsen, P. Dahlstrom and B. Nystrom (1999). Sea Fish. pp. 284–285. ISBN 8790787005
  4. ^ Palomares, M. L. D. and Pauly, D., eds. (2019). "Pandalus borealis" in SeaLifeBase. June 2019 version.
  5. ^ a b c d "Responsible Sourcing Guide: Cold-water Prawns Version 1.1" (PDF). Seafish. April 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 September 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  6. ^ Based on data sourced from the FishStat database, FAO.
  7. ^ Porter, Tom (7 December 2013). "Fishery Closure Puts New England's Shrimp Season On Ice". National Public Radio. Retrieved 10 December 2013.

External links[edit]