September 2023 Newsletter

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US Taxpayers Fund Foreign Aquaculture that Is Driving Oversupply of Shrimp

SSA released “A Crisis of Our Own Making,” a report that describes how the US funds shrimp aquaculture projects through international financial institutions, like the World Bank, which have led to a global oversupply of shrimp. The report calls upon the US government to oppose further funding of shrimp aquaculture projects.

Why This Matters

  • The report catalogs the harm caused by multilateral organizations financing shrimp aquaculture over the last several decades. It demonstrates the need to end investment in shrimp aquaculture.


  • The excess capacity of farmed shrimp significantly reduces shrimp prices across markets, including the United States. The resulting low prices for shrimp devastate the US shrimp industry and the coastal communities that rely upon them.


  • While US taxpayers are funding the decimation of mangrove ecosystems to make way for more shrimp farms, US tax dollars are also financing projects to address the deforestation of mangroves caused by shrimp farms.

SSA Seeks a Federal Fishery Resource Disaster Determination

SSA is seeking a fishery resource disaster determination for shrimp fisheries throughout the Southeast and Gulf of Mexico region. In August, SSA sent a letter to the Governors of all eight shrimping states asking that they collectively request the Secretary of Commerce make the disaster declaration.

Why This Matters

  • A region-wide fishery resource disaster determination is the first step in allowing NOAA to provide financial relief to shrimpers through its Fishery Disaster Assistance program.


  • The recently enacted Fishery Resource Disasters Improvement Act sets out the criteria for the Secretary of Commerce to make a disaster declaration. SSA’s letter briefly outlines why the current situation meets the requirements.


  • SSA urges industry leaders to rally behind this request by contacting your Governor’s office, local officials, and state fishery agencies.

Antidumping Duties Increased on Indian Shrimp

Commerce announced that it was increasing antidumping duty rates for 185 Indian shrimp exporters to the fourth highest rate in the history of its administrative reviews. Commerce changed the rate in response to an argument from SSA’s Ad Hoc Shrimp Trade Action Committee.


Shrimping Communities Declare Disasters

SSA members have worked with their local governments to address the dire circumstances confronting the shrimp industry, resulting in local disaster declarations. The mayor and council of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, declared that a disaster is warranted due to unfairly-traded shrimp. The Commissioners Court of Matagorda County, Texas, passed a local state of disaster based on the harm caused by imported shrimp.

Why This Matters

  • Local governments are informing the public about the essential importance of the shrimp industry to their coastal communities.


  • Local disaster declarations provide clear descriptions of what is at stake if commercial shrimpers are driven out of business.

LESS Act Garners Media Attention

NOAA should not use U.S. tax dollars to promote the consumption of seafood imports that devastate America’s fishing communities. At SSA’s request, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) inserted language into the Senate Appropriations Act 2024 to prevent NOAA from using taxpayer dollars to fund policies or programs that promote the U.S. consumption of seafood imports.

Why This Matters

  • SSA worked closely with Rep. Castor and Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) on developing the Laws Ensuring Safe Shrimp (LESS) Act—legislation that would increase testing of shrimp imports for illegal antibiotics, help combat IUU fishing, and increase USDA purchases of domestic shrimp. The event further informed the Congresswoman about the US shrimp industry’s crisis through firsthand experiences.


  • Media brought attention to the need for Congress to pass the LESS Act, which would help US shrimpers by providing a new, stable market for US shrimp and addressing banned antibiotics and IUU fishing that depress US shrimp prices.
John Williams quoted in Rep. Graves press release supporting LESS Act

SSA Partners with 21 Groups to Help Prosecute Forced Labor

In August, SSA joined 21 human rights and environmental groups in supporting legal action against forced labor and human trafficking in the Thai shrimp processing industry. The various organizations filed an amicus curiae brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Ratha v. Phatthana Foods.

Why This Matters

  • On issues of importance to the shrimp industry, SSA effectively builds relationships with diverse groups to effect change through a wide range of legal and policy tools.


  • The joint legal brief supports the Plaintiffs, victims of forced labor and human trafficking, by demonstrating that a US shrimp importer knew, recklessly disregarded, and/or should have known that forced labor was occurring in its Thai processing plants when trying to sell shrimp to Walmart. SSA’s 2012 demand that the US shrimp importing industry take action against blatant forced labor abuse in shrimp supply chains was used in the legal brief to argue that the importer should have known how its shrimp was being produced.


Leann Bosarge, Mississippi Director

Leann Bosarge hails from a long line of commercial fishermen, who over the years have harvested everything from butterfish and red snapper to oysters, crabs and shrimp. She grew up working at the family business, Bosarge Boats, which owns and operates a fleet of trawl vessels that fish the waters of both the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic.

She was the first member of her family to earn a college degree, after which she spent a few years working for a publicly traded financial institution. However, she soon returned to her true love – the commercial fishing industry and the family business.

Prior to joining SSA’s Board in 2023, Leann helped shape the future of our fisheries and ensured their long-term, science-based sustainability through her appointment to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council. She was elected and served as Chairman of the Council from 2016 to 2018. She reached her term limit as a voting member of the Council in the summer of 2022.

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