Shrimpers consider drastic action over cheap imports
HOUMA, LA (WVUE) - There was concern for the future of the shrimping industry as shrimpers gathered Wednesday for a Louisiana Shrimp Association meeting in Houma.
For months shrimpers have said with the price of shrimp plummeting, it's getting harder for them to make a living. Most are wondering whether there has been any progress since Sen. John Kennedy and Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser last heard their worries.
Neither official attended Wednesday's meeting, but they did send representatives to give an update.
Louisiana Shrimp Association board members say Nungesser and Kenney both said they were putting more money into testing foreign shrimp for toxins.
"We know if they test more, they're going to turn away more shrimp. That in return makes less coming in, and demand might be a little more," said Association President Acy Cooper.
Shrimper want a face-to-face meeting with Rep. Steve Scaliese, hoping he can bring their concerns to the White House.
State Rep. Jerry Gisclair said a meeting will help, but it will take much more than a meeting to bring relief to the shrimping community.
"Obviously there's a lot to be done," said State Rep. Jerry Gisclair. "We're all working for hopefully more inspections, but we can't just focus on China. We need to focus on all Southeast Asian countries."
Shrimpers have said import prices are driving the price of locally caught shrimp to extremely low levels. They voiced support for tariffs and strict requirements on foreign shrimp to help encourage the local industry.
While shrimpers hope government leaders will take political action, some are also considering a strike. However, board members have repeatedly said they won't call for a strike unless the shrimpers support it.
Shrimp season opens Monday.
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