Shrimpers say foreign pond raised imports drove American prices down by about 50-percent over the last year.
"We are still trying to keep our local stuff here because I know people come to Mississippi, don't want to buy shrimp from China, don't want to buy shrimp from Panama. If they do, and they want it cheap, we do have it. But if you want the good stuff, buy USA," says seafood dealer Junie Desport.
To encourage American sales, the Southern Shrimp Alliance will ask that tariffs be imposed on countries that flood the market with lower priced shrimp. The alliance is made up of shrimpers and processors from North Carolina to Texas.
Tariffs can slow imports that seafood dealer Brian Gollott says have taken more than 91-percent of the American shrimp business.
"We have some countries that refuse to take these imported shrimp. Europe refuses to take them and they're bringing them here to the States. This is the only thing we know to do. We have no other choice but to try these tariffs," Gollott says.
"It can be as much as a dollar a pound that they put against China and some of these places that have been dumping shrimp into this country," Shrimp Processor Richard Gollott says.
With an estimated billion pounds of shrimp imported into the U.S. last year, Gollott says tariffs could add up to a huge amount of money that would help shrimpers and processors recoup some of their costs. So that no one misses out, the shrimp alliance wants all fishermen to join in the petition that will be filed December 30th.
"We have to have 25-percent of the fishermen to even bring this petition. I think we've got our 25-percent, but it would sure be a shame for fishermen in Louisiana and Texas to have brought this petition and get money out of this thing and Mississippi fishermen to get nothing... just because they haven't joined," Richard Gollott says.
Gollot says the alliance hopes to succeed as Louisiana did in its $9 million fight against foreign crawfish imports.
Shrimpers who want to be included in the petition can call Shrimp Alliance members Richard Gollott at 374-6121 or Tommy Schultz at 806-9602. The petition will be filed with the U.S. Commerce Department.