DELCAMBRE, La. (KLFY) – The five-day Delcambre Shrimp Festival is filled with food, music, and fun. All to highlight the importance of the shrimping industry in South Louisiana.

KLFY News 10 spoke with one shrimper who laid out his concerns about the downturn in the local industry.

“I’ve been commercially fishing since 1974, so it’s been a little over forty years I’ve been doing this,” said Thomas Olander. 

Olander told News 10 that it’s in his blood but it hasn’t been an easy road. 

“I am a third generation, my father did it, my grandfather did it,” he said. “Hurricanes have been a big issue for us. The BP oil spill was a real big issue for us here.” 

He continued to tell News 10 that there has been a lot of change in the industry over the past 40 years. 

“In 2022, we’re down to 4,000 commercial fishermen.” 

“We’re being overregulated, we’re paying way too much for fuel, and we’re getting the absolute worst price of my whole career doing this,” he added.

According to Olander, the cause is imported shrimp, as imported shrimp floods the market and domestic shrimpers are getting a smaller share and getting squeezed out. 

“There’s anywhere between 600 and 300 million pounds of shrimp that’s surplus on the market before the first domestic shrimp can ever hit the market. With that being the problem, that being there, there’s nowhere for our domestic shrimp to really go to get on the market where we can get paid a fair price for our product.” 

Olander told News 10 that action needs to be taken to protect the local shrimp industry. He said that lawmakers need to start by slowing down the flood of imported shrimp and prioritize local shrimpers. 

“If they don’t change where they have right now, we may lose this industry,” he said. “If they can tailor it back around 25%, just cut back imports 25%, we would be in good shape.”

Olander continued, “we’ve tried to get subsidized for our fuel, that’s fallen by the wayside. We’ve tried to get subsidized for our product.”

“To think about all my good friends in Acadiana to not have the opportunity to not put this product on their kitchen table, it takes away from your heart,” he said.