ST. MARTINVILLE, La. (KLFY) — As U.S Rep Clay Higgins (R-Lafayette) makes efforts to help the shrimping industry, commercial crawfisherman in Acadiana feel they’re being ignored.
In a letter to the Department of Agriculture, Higgins requested the federal government purchase gulf shrimp to prop up prices and minimize the influx of imported shrimp, helping the industry in Louisiana.
Ben Bienvenu, a commercial crawfisherman, said shrimpers are not the only ones affected by the availability of cheap, imported seafood.
“We’d like to see help towards commercial crawfisherman as they are helping the shrimpers,” Bienvenu said. “It’s not just the shrimpers that are in need with what’s going on. I don’t know if they’re looking at a tariff or what they’re looking at to try to help them, but we need that help too, we get no help.”
Bienvenu said the commercial crawfish industry has struggled in recent years, even failing to see a profit so far in 2023, only seeing a price of 40 cents per pound of smaller sized crawfish.
“These are 1970 prices,” Bienvenue said. “Everything goes up, but crawfish is the only thing that goes down. It’s one of the most delicious and spectacular delicacies we have in Louisiana, and the public pays for it but we don’t get paid to go catch it hardly. It’s a struggle for us, I’ve never caught up to where I could save money.
Bienvenu said his fellow crawfishermen supported Higgins in his run for office, but with his recent statement only involving the shrimping industry he feels betrayed.
Bienvenu still hopes changes can be made that can help both the shrimp and crawfish industry rebuild.
“If Clay wants to do something, let him put crawfish in with the shrimp,” Bienvenue said. “He doesn’t have to like us, he can keep not liking us if he wants. He’s supposed to be doing the right thing, and we elected him to do the right thing. We’re just asking for that. Just give us the help, he doesn’t have to like us. Jesus said they’ll hate you and they’ll hate me too.”
As commercial crawfisherman continue to struggle, Bienvenu said he’s tired of empty promises and in the future hopes for action.