BATON ROUGE, LA (KLFY) — Louisiana shrimpers rallied at the state capital today to put the state government on notice about the issue of imported shrimp.
For years, the Louisiana shrimping industry has been under attack by cheaper imported shrimp from China, Indonesia and other parts of the world, Louisiana Shrimpers Association President Acy Cooper said. Because of this, shrimp prices have plummeted for American shrimpers.
Cooper said this has been going on for years, and enough is enough.
“It is to the point where we are about to lose our industry,” Cooper said. “We just had the opening of the season and people are going into the hole trying to make a living.”
Over 100 people from all over the state gathered at the Capitol building with signs indicating imported shrimp is not wanted here in Louisiana.
“We are asking for a ban in imports in the State of Louisiana,” Cooper said. “If you can’t get it, at least give us a little leeway to where you bring enough in and we can bring in the rest. We know we are not going to get a total ban on imports, but just give us a cap and control it to where we can make a living.”
Commercial fisherman Earl Ronquillo said he hopes compromises can be made.
“They would just cut it back to 75% where we can have our 25% of the industry and put a tariff on the shrimp so we can get a fair price,” he said.
State Rep. Mack Cormier (D-Belle Chasse) has been a voice for the industry in the Legislature. He has sponsored a bill, HB 528, that would increase penalties for violating shrimp and crawfish labeling requirements in food service establishments.
“We have to protect them. We have to do more for them,” said Cormier. “This is an election year. The shrimpers need to unite and form and make your voice heard in November.”