First Quarter Report

Highlights of SSA's work on behalf of the U.S. shrimp industry

Table of Contents
Legislative Initiatives

Congress Funds ELB Program

At SSA’s request, Senators Britt (R-AL), Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Kennedy (R-LA) and Rubio (R-FL) along with Representatives Graves (R-LA) and Letlow (R-LA) secured an additional $850,000 FY24 appropriation for NMFS to develop and implement in consultation with the U.S. shrimp industry a new cellular Electronic Logbook (ELB) technology program to replace the now-defunct 3G cellular ELB units. Such consultation includes the Gulf Fishery Management Council’s Shrimp Advisory Panel (AP) Chaired by SSA Board Member Leann Bosarge and which includes SSA representatives President Steve Bosarge, Executive Director John Williams, SSA Members Gary Graham and Ricky Brown, and consultant Glenn Delaney.

At its March meeting, the Shrimp AP recommended that, in order to prevent such data from being weaponized by the NMFS Office of Law Enforcement, this second round of funding be used to ensure the NMFS Southeast Fisheries Science Center’s server has sufficient capacity to receive and store the data, to develop a statistically robust design for distributing units to a representative portion of the fleet, and to cover the cost of providing units and cellular service to those shrimp vessels.

The shrimp fishery would lose its authorization to operate under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) without the fishing effort data generated by this program, and it is essential to a range of other critical purposes such as performing shrimp stock assessments, monitoring the fishery’s juvenile red snapper bycatch reduction requirements, and deconflicting offshore wind energy development with historical shrimp fishing grounds.  

The LESS Act Gains Bipartisan Support

The Laws Ensuring Safe Shrimp (LESS) Act bill would direct an amount equivalent to 70 percent of the duties collected annually on shrimp imports for two SSA priorities – for FDA to increase its testing of shrimp imports for illegal antibiotics and for the USDA to increase its procurements of domestic shrimp.


The legislation, originally developed and introduced by Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) and Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) while working closely with SSA, continues to garner significant bipartisan support from Members throughout the Gulf and South Atlantic regions and beyond, including Representatives Weber (R-TX), Nehls (R-TX), Carl (R-AL), Ezell (R-MS), Carter (D-LA), Gonzalez (D-TX), Letlow (R-LA), Murphy (R-NC), Babin (R-TX), Davis (D-NC), Rouzer (R-NC) and, reflecting efforts to collaborate with other regions, Reps. Peltola (D-AK) and Huffman (D-CA). 

The SOS Act is Introduced

Last week, Representative Troy Nehls (R-TX) and 13 bipartisan co-sponsors introduced the Save Our Shrimpers Act (SOS Act) to prohibit U.S. taxpayer funds from being used by international financial institutions to finance any activity relating to shrimp farming, the processing of shrimp, or shrimp exports in a foreign country. It also mandates an investigation and annual report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on whether U.S. Executive Directors at the various international financial institutions have complied with their responsibility to oppose such financing.

The proposed legislation stems from concerns raised by SSA last year in A Crisis of Our Own Making, a research report cataloging the role played by international financial institutions, like the World Bank, in the creation of excess shrimp aquaculture capacity and production. The resulting oversupply of shrimp has overwhelmed the U.S. shrimp market, driving shrimp prices down to levels that, for many shrimpers, cannot cover the cost of a shrimp fishing trip and has placed the domestic shrimp industry on the verge of collapse. 

USDA Buys Wild-Caught US Shrimp

SSA has been advocating for the inclusion of seafood, including shrimp, under USDA programs to substantially mitigate the crisis facing U.S. shrimpers by reducing inventory and creating a market for local shrimpers to sell their catch. Once again in January, the USDA purchased US shrimp products for use in domestic food distribution programs. In December, the USDA bought up to $36 million worth of wild-caught shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic.

With SSA’s strong support, an April 1st letter was sent by a bipartisan coalition of Senators and House Members from across the Nation asking the leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees overseeing the development of the ‘farm bill’ to establish an Office of Seafood Policy and Program Integration at the USDA Office of the Chief Economist, support seafood procurement across USDA nutrition programs, and extend eligibility for certain USDA grants and loans to U.S. seafood producers and businesses supporting this sector. The Congressional letter aligns with a nationwide industry letter sent to Congress last September which SSA endorsed. On April 11, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program updated its rules to include more seafood.

Fighting Forced Labor

Reports Find Labor Abuses, Environmental Harm, and Food Safety Issues in Indian Shrimp

Despite being the largest market player, there have been few investigations into the Indian shrimp supply chain—until now. Three separate reports found forced labor in the Indian shrimp industry, the largest shrimp supplier to the U.S. market, providing 40.8% of all shrimp imports and more than half of all peeled shrimp imports in 2023:


In response, Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) demanded that Mr. Farinella be guaranteed full whistleblower protections, urgently called for the full investigation of all allegations regarding Indian shrimp, and advocated for the adoption of the India Shrimp Tariff Act, S.2979, which would impose additional tariffs on imports of Indian shrimp.

Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) and Rep. Mary Sattler Peltola (D-AK) urged President Biden to stop all imports of Indian shrimp into the United States until the Administration “can make a coordinated, whole-of-government effort to protect the American seafood supply.”

Representatives Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Melanie Stansbury (D-NM) of the House Committee on Natural Resources solicited documents under its authority “to conduct oversight and investigations of all matters relating to fisheries,” citing “ongoing efforts to reduce human rights violations and increase transparency in the seafood supply chain.”

SSA petitioned the Bureau of International Labor Affairs of the U.S. Department of Labor (ILAB) to add Indian shrimp to the 2024 List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor and, separately, to the List of Products Produced by Forced or Indentured Child Labor. If this action is taken, it would prohibit the purchase of Indian shrimp by the U.S. government.

SSA Seeks to Block Imports of Chinese Shrimp Produced with Uyghur Forced Labor

SSA petitioned the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force (FLETF) to add eight Chinese seafood processing plants in Shandong to the Entity List maintained under the Uyghur Forced Labor Protection Act (UFLPA). 

The eight companies identified in the Alliance’s petition are tied to clear evidence of employing Uyghur labor through programs that transferred these workers from the XUAR. Including these companies on the UFLPA’s Entity List would presumptively treat seafood exported by these entities as goods produced through forced labor, prohibiting importation into the United States. Importers could overcome the presumption by demonstrating that their Chinese supplier no longer utilizes Uyghur labor.

In addition, SSA also petitioned the FLETF to recognize formally seafood as a priority sector for UFLPA enforcement. This designation would help to ensure that the UFLPA safeguards extend to other seafood processing plants in China that are exploiting Uyghur labor, whether in Shandong province or elsewhere.  

Utilizing Trade Laws

New duties applied to shrimp from Ecuador, India, and Vietnam

In response to the petitions brought by the American Shrimp Processors Association, Commerce found subsidies in Ecuador, India and Vietnam that warrant countervailing duties. Starting April 1, U.S. Customs and Border Protection requires cash deposits to be made on imports of shrimp from these countries. Commerce preliminarily did not find sufficient subsidies to warrant the imposition of countervailing duties on Indonesia. 

A summary of the preliminary CVD cash deposit rates now required of importers:


Devi Sea Foods = 4.72%

Sandhya Aqua = 3.89%

All other companies = 4.36%


Santa Priscila = 13.41%

SONGA = 1.69%

All other  companies = 7.55%


Stapimex = 2.84%

Thong Thuan = 196.41%

All other companies = 2.84%

Communist Party Distorts Vietnam’s Market

SSA opposes a request by the Government of Vietnam to be treated as a market economy. The Department of Commerce currently treats Vietnam as a non-market economy (NME) and applies special rules to address the distortions caused by the government of Vietnam’s control over the country’s economy. Under these special rules, Vietnamese shrimp exporters that are controlled by the government are subject to a 25.76% antidumping duty rate.

Industry Enhancement

Documenting Antibiotic Use

SSA continues to publish monthly the FDA’s refusal data to show which companies have been found to use banned antibiotics in shrimp. This year, SSA has enhanced the reporting by adding BAP-certification information to the refusal data. While no shrimp should contain traces of banned antibiotics in their flesh, this is especially true for those with third-party certification. Yet, every month, the FDA—which only tests 0.1% of shrimp—finds contaminated shrimp that SSA traces to BAP-certified facilities.

In addition, SSA has updated the annual databases it keeps of shrimp found to have banned antibiotics by the EU, Japan, and the United States. SSA compiles public databases so US purchasers can easily research suppliers.

The FDA has confirmed, in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from SSA, that India poses the most significant risk of antibiotic contamination in shrimp. Nearly half of the samples that contained banned antibiotics (48.4%) since 2022 have come from Indian shrimp, despite representing only 4% of tested shrimp.

Sixteen Students to Receive a $1,000 Scholarship

For a third year, SSA offers scholarships to reduce education costs for students with ties to the commercial fishing industry. Under this program, $16,000 is allocated to fund scholarships, with the goal of two recipients in each of the eight states in which the southeastern shrimp industry operates (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina). Scholarships will be capped at $1,000 per individual. Funding is not tied to a specific area of study and is available for any post-secondary institution.

This year’s deadline was recently extended to April 22, 2024.

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