In 2009, federal and state agents launched multiple state investigations into whether U.S. shrimp purchasers have falsely labeled imported shrimp as domestic shrimp. Steve Campbell, a special agent with NOAA law enforcement, called the investigation “the tip of the iceberg” in news reports.
The SSA has worked closely with government regulatory agencies to enhance efforts to stop all forms of seafood fraud, particularly where the fraud causes serious harm to U.S. consumers’ clear preferences for wild-caught domestic shrimp. By falsely selling imported shrimp as domestic shrimp, shrimp resellers seek to reap the benefit of price premiums for domestic shrimp while simultaneously diminishing the reputation of domestic shrimp by providing customers with lower quality imported farmed shrimp. This fraud does substantial damage to the industry as a whole, while providing a short-term (and short-sighted) benefit to a few unscrupulous individuals.
NOAA law enforcement has been acting on credible information provided by members of our industry and asks for additional cooperation to help further the investigations. The SSA also encourages individuals with information to come forward to end the cycle of fraud injuring the industry.