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Illegal Seafood Hurts Fishermen in the U.S.

July 12, 2012

Illegal fishing abroad can be understood to hurt fishermen in the U.S. as it lowers the prices they receive.  Greater supply, lower equilibrium price point.  Simple enough.  And foreign caught seafood that’s been mislabeled can also hurt U.S. fishermen; domestic-caught seafood tends to command a price premium.  These issues are particulary important to consider as we import 84% of our seafood in the U.S., and mislabeling appears to be widespread.

But we tend not to have great examples of how this plays out in the real world…because illegal seafood is pretty hard to track.  That’s why I liked this article quantifying how much  shrimp was imported.  Plus, the American Shrimp Processors Association is pretty upset about it.

The American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA) on Tuesday denounced the misrepresentation or mischaracterization of seafood sold to U.S. consumers, adding that it’s “fought for years” to improve the market share of wild-caught American shrimp.

ASPA’s comments come after Worldwide Seafood Co., of Highland Park, Ill., and DoRan Seafood, of Independence, La., earlier this month pleaded guilty to violating the Lacey Act for their part in mislabeling more than USD 100,000 worth of Mexican-caught shrimp as U.S. product between November 2007 and December 2008. Each company faces up to USD 500,000 in fines. (source)

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