Hundreds of upset shrimpers pack Houma meeting

Shrimpers meet about prices, status of industry
Updated: Jun. 8, 2018 at 10:02 PM CDT
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HOUMA, LA (WVUE) - "We are on the bottom. It's time to stand up and say we are not going to be on the bottom anymore," says a shrimper.

Passionate shrimpers packed a Louisiana Shrimp Association meeting. All of them were asking for help.

"The prices of these shrimp are unbelievably low. It's the worse I've ever seen or heard of," says Troy Parria.

The shrimpers say the industry is struggling to stay afloat with prices as low as 40 cents a pound.

"We just need a price our shrimp to make a fair honest living that's all we ask for," says Parria.

They say import prices are forcing the prices of locally caught shrimp to be extremely low. On top of that, they're spending additional money on boats and equipment.

"Everyone of you in this room believes in free trade but trade can't be free if it's not fair," says Sen. John Kennedy.

Kennedy spoke to the crowd of fishermen about why he believes it's crucial to impose tariffs on U.S. imports of foreign shrimp. He says foreign shrimp can also be dangerous to our health.

"It's full of antibiotics. Eating a shrimp with antibiotics in it. It won't kill you the first time you do it, but it will kill you if you keep doing it because your body builds up a resistance to antibiotics," says Kennedy.

"Stop taking trash from overseas and bringing it in when you have the finest right here in your back yard," says Parria.

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser says he's tried to fix the problems of imported shrimp in the past, but nothings worked so he's hoping to try something new. He wants all imported seafood to be inspected.

"We are sure if we do that, much of that seafood will be rejected and we can cut down on those imports," says Nungesser.

Shrimpers believe their industry is dying and they say time is running out.

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