BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) – Shrimpers in Louisiana are fighting back against imported shrimp and their goal is to save their livelihood.
They want their voices heard in Washington and in Baton Rouge.
President of the Louisiana Shrimp Association, Acy Cooper, has proposed hiring a lobbyist to represent the association to help keep the focus on the failing industry in the halls of power.
“We can’t continue talking on deaf ears,” Cooper said. “We need somebody up there 24/7 to speak for us and talk to the right people. We talk to our delegation up there but that is not all the right people. The administration, the Biden administration, here in the state the governor and wildlife and fisheries do a lot for us but you know the voice still needs to be there.”
The shrimping industry is worth billions of dollars to the Louisiana economy, and shrimpers along the coast catch millions of pounds of shrimp every year.
Cooper said the group has had a lot of issues in the industry, and imported shrimp is a major one. Imported shrimp is driving the price down, forcing many shrimpers to dock their boats, Cooper said. That’s bad news for the many coastal towns which rely on commercial shrimping for a living.
“The prices went from $4 a pound down to a $1.20,” Cooper said. “It is getting dire need. We have been screaming and hollering. This task force has been together since 2010. We can’t get anybody in Washington to do the job that we need.”
Cooper and the rest of the shrimping association believe that bringing in a lobbyist will help the industry have representation for years, and it can finally be protected and thrive again.
“The industry is going to fall,” he said. “We are talking about rural communities that (are) going to lose out on this. Why would anybody want to live in these areas if it was not for the fishing industry? So you are talking about rural communities that (are) going to be just left out in the cold. It is going to be over with, the heritage, the culture.”