NEW ORLEANS — Members of the American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA) participated in an industry summit on July 9, 2019 at the U.S. Customs House in New Orleans. They joined more than 20 U.S. government officials and members of the Louisiana Shrimp Association and the Southern Shrimp Alliance.
The meeting was convened at the request of U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), who has been a steadfast advocate for fair trade in the shrimp sector. High-ranking government officials with a broad array of shrimp industry experience from the U.S. Department of Commerce (International Trade Administration & National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Office of Trade & Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center), Food and Drug Administration (Division of Import Operations & Seafood Processing and Technology Branch), and Homeland Security Investigations (Office of the Director, Global Trade Investigations and National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center) discussed a wide range of social, economic and legal challenges facing the domestic shrimp industry.
The substantive areas addressed were illegal dumping and trade-distorting foreign subsidies; transshipment and circumvention; illegal veterinary drug use and FDA shrimp import inspections; illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; forced labor in foreign shrimp production; and the seafood import monitoring program (SIMP) for shrimp.
ASPA’s Executive Director, Dr. David Veal, commented after the meeting, “This was a truly extraordinary opportunity to discuss critical issues face-to-face with the U.S. government officials directly responsible for monitoring them.” He added, “Our participating members especially appreciated the open and frank dialogue with the diverse agencies represented.”
Members of ASPA in attendance expressed that Senator Cassidy’s leadership on the complex social, economic and legal issues facing shrimp producers and processors in his home state of Louisiana and throughout the Gulf South and South Atlantic is especially appreciated.
“We have been working diligently on shrimp industry challenges for nearly 15 years, and this is our first opportunity to directly engage all of our U.S. government colleagues working on our issues every day,” noted ASPA’s counsel Eddy Hayes. “We sincerely appreciate Senator Cassidy and his staff for making this happen and thank them for their unwavering support.”
Dr. Veal concluded the meeting by asking everyone to think outside of their specific mandates for solutions to help the industry.
“We cannot continue to perpetually address crises on an ad hoc basis. We need a comprehensive solution with strong baseline programs similar to those maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. After all, we are the farmers of the sea, and our challenges are no different from those faced by agriculture industries that receive billions in annual support from the U.S. government to remain competitive.”
More information on the efforts of ASPA and its members can be accessed via www.americanshrimp.com.
About the American Shrimp Processors Association: The American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA), based in Biloxi, Mississippi, was formed in 1964 to represent and promote the interests of the domestic, U.S. wild-caught, warm water shrimp processing industry along the Gulf and South Atlantic with members from Texas to North Carolina. We are the collective voice of the industry, and our focus is to promote the interests of shrimp processors, other segments of the U.S. domestic wild-caught warm water shrimp industry and the general public. More information is available at http://www.americanshrimp.com