Shrimping association pushing for legislation to help the indust - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Shrimping association pushing for legislation to help the industry

It is estimated Americans will eat 1.5 billion pounds of shrimp this year. (Photo source: WLOX) It is estimated Americans will eat 1.5 billion pounds of shrimp this year. (Photo source: WLOX)
NOAA reports 10 percent of shrimp consumed in the US actually comes from American shrimpers, 90 percent comes from foreign countries. (Photo source: WLOX) NOAA reports 10 percent of shrimp consumed in the US actually comes from American shrimpers, 90 percent comes from foreign countries. (Photo source: WLOX)
Members of the American Shrimp Processors Association recently met with Washington lawmakers urging them to support legislation they believe will help the shrimp industry. (Photo source: WLOX) Members of the American Shrimp Processors Association recently met with Washington lawmakers urging them to support legislation they believe will help the shrimp industry. (Photo source: WLOX)
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - It is estimated Americans will eat 1.5 billion pounds of shrimp this year, but it's not South Mississippi shrimpers that will benefit. According to NOAA, it's foreign countries.

In an effort to change that, members of the American Shrimp Processors Association recently met with Washington lawmakers urging them to support legislation they believe will help the shrimp industry. The "Leveling the Playing Field Act" would allow American industries, such as the shrimping industry, to be able to compete with foreign imports.

"In another two or three months we will be starting a new season and many of our processors still have a very large inventory of product," American Shrimp Processors Association Executive Director David Veal said. "Many of them paid a significant price for them, far above the current price. And those kinds of swings are devastating to not only the processors, but the fisherman, too."

Veal said many countries subsidize shrimp, making foreign shrimp cheaper than local shrimp.

"When a country takes advantage of our US trade laws to manipulate the price, that damages domestic industries," Veal said. "It costs us jobs and it costs us our economic stability."

NOAA reports 10 percent of shrimp consumed in the US actually comes from American shrimpers, 90 percent comes from foreign countries. This could all change, Veal said, if the Leveling the Playing Field Act, or a similar bill, is signed into law.

Mississippi's US Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker are in favor of the legislation.

In a statement Senator Wicker said, "We should ensure that the industry is treated equitably in the global marketplace and not victimized by unfair trade laws and practices."

Cochran's spokesman said, "He will continue to work to give our shrimpers and fisheries a fair chance to compete and succeed."

Veal believes this is what the shrimping industry needs to thrive again in South Mississippi.

"It will certainly increase the value and increase the value of the end product, and that trickles down to fishermen and everybody in the market chain," Veal said.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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