Mary Tutwiler

Shrimpers on strike

by Mary Tutwiler

The Plaquemine Parish shrimp fleet will be dry docked today as shrimpers march on Baton Rouge to protest low prices. The Times-Picayune reports that shrimpers are complaining of “being offered between .40 and .75 cents per pound for large shrimp, while the same shrimp at local supermarkets are selling for $3 to $4 per pound.” The situation is the same statewide. In Delcambre, Sunday, during the Blessing of the Shrimp Fleet, fishermen Jesse Verdin bemoaned the pittance being offered for shrimp as well. “The price is not good for shrimp,” Verdin told the Daily Iberian. “This right here is a good living if they’d pay us a good price.”

In support of the shrimpers, shrimp dock owners, who sell to large seafood processing companies, have agreed to shut down as well, hoping to put the pinch on the national shrimp market. However, with the tusnami of imported shrimp, the effort, while righteous, may be quixotic. The TP reports:
Although Louisiana leads the country in domestic production of shrimp, with fishers hauling in 57.8 million pounds last year, it amounts to less than 5 percent of the shrimp consumed in the United States. More than 90 percent of U.S. consumption is from imports.
It may be more effective to tilt at raising tariffs and promoting Louisiana wild shrimp than deprive mostly Louisiana buyers, who support our shrimpers, of their fresh shrimp dinners.