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Louisiana Shrimp to be Supported by New Law?

LOUISIANA, US - New legislation has been suggested to help support the state's ailing shrimp industry.

Panels formed to come up with ideas to save the struggling shrimp industry have endorsed a list of suggestions that could result in new legislation, according to Daily Comet.

Two subcommittees representing harvesters and processors, offshoots of the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force created by Governor Bobby Jindal last month, are hopeful the proposals will be addressed during next year's regular session.

Commercial fishermen have been protesting and lobbying elected officials to do something about low shrimp prices, primarily the result of cheap imports.

While that is a federal issue, there are a number of proposals that could be addressed on the state level.

Processors voted to request legislation that would increase the shrimp excise tax by 25 cents a barrel. The money would pay for marketing and require restaurants to disclose the source of their shrimp.

Harvesters, meanwhile, want the state to increase money for testing imports for health reasons. Some have even suggested that the shrimping industry be moved from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to the Department of Agriculture, which presently oversees the crawfish industry.

Rep. Gordon Dove (R-Houma) said the transfer will not happen, and he chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, which would be directly involved in any such legislation.

He predicts the 2010 session will be a busy one for shrimp interests, and he pledged: "“You're going to see us doing everything we can do on a state level. And I'm pretty sure you’re going to see a proposal to raise the excise tax from 15 cents to 40 cents to help out the industry, if the industry wants it."

the Fish Site Editor

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