Shrimp Ruling

There’s news for Gulf Coast shrimpers; the U.S. Department of Commerce will soon propose tariffs on shrimp imported from China and Vietnam. After years of struggling with rock-bottom prices, some locals are welcoming the idea.

At Southern Seafood in Tallahassee you can find just about anything under the sea, fresh and full of flavor in many varieties, but the hottest sellers are these hometown favorites.

Matt McCreless, Southern Seafood Manager, says, “It's the most popular thing we sell and the most popular thing we search for, Florida seafood.”

More specifically, Gulf Coast shrimp, the freshest kind of shrimp in Tallahassee. These are not pond raised, unlike some Asian imports which agricultural experts claim are cheap and threaten Florida's shrimping industry.

Terence McElroy of the Florida Department of Agriculture says, “The fact is, despite cheap Asian shrimp, consumers aren't getting a break. The people making money are probably the middlemen.”

It's one of the reasons the Florida Department of Agriculture supports a new proposal made Tuesday by the U.S. Commerce Department which could force tariffs on Chinese and Vietnam exporters.

Terence adds, “It will be more expensive for those countries to sell these products. Therefore, Florida shrimp will be more competitively priced. It won't be undercut or undersold.”

The state isn't in favor of raising consumer prices. It says it simply wants an even playing field, which it hopes will keep the freshest shrimp fully stocked at local seafood markets.

The case will now go back to the Trade Commission for a final determination, then it's off to the Commerce Department which will set dumping penalties.