News

Second Quarter Report 2024

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

Table of Contents
Legislative Initiatives

New Bill Attacks Bottom Trawlers

Representative Peltola (D-AK) recently introduced legislation that would impose new federal mandates on fisheries management, negatively impacting shrimp trawl and other bottom trawl fisheries. In response, the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) and At-Sea Processors Association collaborated with fisheries leaders nationwide to respond.

 

53 organizations, associations, and companies representing the nation’s commercial seafood industry united in a letter urging Rep. Peltola to withdraw H.R. 8507. The cosigners emphasized that the bill ignores up-to-date scientific findings and sets impractical federal requirements on under-resourced Regional Fishery Management Councils. Failing to recognize the sustainability and conservation successes of the U.S. shrimp trawl fisheries, this bill’s politically-driven mandates would only exacerbate the regulatory disadvantages U.S. shrimpers already face with imports and would devastate fishery-dependent communities and working families across our nation.

Bill Proposes to Destroy Contaminated Imports

Representative Clay Higgins (R-LA) and Troy A. Carter (D-LA) introduced the Destruction of Hazardous Imports Act to empower the FDA to destroy imported products, including shrimp contaminated with antibiotics, pathogens such as salmonella and listeria, or filth, that pose a significant public health concern. This Act would enhance consumer protection by removing the option of port-shopping by re-exporting contaminated shrimp to another U.S. port—a practice likely to succeed given the FDA’s low rate of shrimp import inspections.

Contaminated shrimp sold to the European Union or Japan are highly likely to be identified, tested, and destroyed. The proposed legislation would align U.S. enforcement practices with international standards and make the U.S. market less attractive as a dumping ground for exporters of unsafe seafood.

SSA has long advocated for reforms to prohibit the re-introduction of hazardous seafood and welcomed Representatives Higgins and Carter’s leadership.

Fighting Forced Labor

Government Blocks Imports of Shrimp Produced with Forced Labor

The federal government acted against Shandong Meijia Group Co., Ltd. for using forced labor, adding the group’s Chinese seafood processing plants to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) Entity List. Seafood, including shrimp, from the companies in this group will be refused entry to the U.S. market. SSA had petitioned the Forced Labor Enforcement Task Force to add eight Chinese seafood conglomerates, including the Shandong Meijia Group, to the list. 

Underscoring the shortcomings of current seafood labeling laws, two of the subsidiary members of the Shandong Meijia Group exported Argentine red shrimp to the U.S. without any indication that it may have been packed in Chinese seafood processing plants using Uyghur labor. At least 12 million pounds of Argentine red shrimp processed in China were exported to the United States in 2023.

SSA continues to urge the FLETF to prioritize seafood in UFLPA enforcement through a “priority sector” designation.

Utilizing Trade Laws

ITC Issues Questionnaires

The International Trade Commission (ITC) issued questionnaires essential to the imposition of antidumping and countervailing duties resulting from trade actions brought by the American Shrimp Processors Association. The responses will demonstrate whether imports are injuring the domestic industry, a requirement for implementing trade relief.

 

The questionnaire responses are due to the ITC by July 26, 2024.

 

The revised questionnaire for fishermen clarifies questions that had caused confusion, such as how to report labor costs and days fished for multiple vessels. These questionnaires are substantially shorter than the processors’ questionnaires, which are vastly less demanding than the importers’ questionnaires.

 

Industry media reported that the preliminary countervailing duties imposed in April, which range from 2.84% to 13.41%, prompted many exporters to scale back production.

Regulatory Engagement

BOEM Proposes a Second Lease for Wind Power Development in the Gulf

For the past three years, SSA has worked with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to avoid, minimize, and mitigate any harm to the Gulf commercial shrimp fishery from the pursuit of offshore wind projects. In May, SSA submitted comments on BOEM’s sale notice proposing new commercial leases for wind power development on the outer continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico (GOMW-2). SSA requested the exclusion of areas with moderate-to-high shrimp fishing effort currently included in the proposed Lease Areas and raised a variety of concerns on other impacts, such as marine radar interference.

 

SSA’s robust participation in the development of offshore wind energy was reflected in BOEM’s GOMW-1 final sale notice, in which the three final lease areas established off the coast of Galveston, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana together comprised only 1.0 percent of the original Call Area acreage and specifically exclude well-documented areas of moderate to high shrimp fishing effort.  Ultimately, only one lease was issued comprising an area that represents a 99.7 percent reduction in acreage from that original Call Area.

 

SSA will continue to help the agency understand how offshore wind energy development will potentially impact the operations and sustainability of the commercial shrimp fishery, the most valuable commercial fishery in the Gulf.

Industry Enhancement

Monitoring BAP-Certified Shrimp for Safety

Updated July 14, 2024

 

SSA analysis shows that 91% of shrimp entry lines refused by the FDA in 2024 for antibiotic contamination originated from Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)-certified facilities. Despite testing only 0.1% of imports for banned antibiotics, the FDA refused 47 entry lines of adulterated shrimp between January and June 2024, of which 43 were from BAP-certified facilities. A total of 23 exporters were responsible for the antibiotic-contaminated shrimp, of which 20 companies currently operate under a BAP certification. In addition, FDA added six BAP-certified shrimp facilities to Import Alerts for banned antibiotics this year.

 

In March, the Corporate Accountability Lab issued a report criticizing the BAP certification program “as little more than marketing ploys that fail to protect workers or the environment” after interviews detailed widespread violation of the standards. Outlaw Ocean Project brought further scrutiny to the program, revealing a whistleblower who produced thousands of pages of internal documentation supporting antibiotic and labor violations at Choice Canning. SSA’s own analysis of Choice Canning’s import records emphasizes the opacity of Indian shrimp supply chains, advocating for improved traceability and accountability.

 

Edit: The original version incorrectly identified refused entry lines as certified to meet Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) standards, rather than originating from BAP-certified facilities.shri

 

SSA Awards Scholarships for Third Year

SSA provided $1,000 scholarships to reduce education costs for sixteen students with ties to the commercial fishing industry. Congratulations to our 2024 winners!

Wesley Champion Gracie Edens Keeley Bouchard Ashlyn Le Uyen Nguyen Larrington Chadwick Rebecca Marhefka Sara Stewart Dani Thibodeaux Laila Flowers Tovy Tran Kinsey Waits Riley Wallis Raynee Templet Juliana Weeks Clayton Reid Woods

Share This Article