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Shrimpers threaten to strike

Posted at 6:48 PM, Aug 09, 2018

Louisiana shrimpers vow to go on strike if the price of shrimp drops again.

Shrimpers say they’re frustrated with foreign imports that are driving prices to levels not seen since the 1980s. Now, some shrimpers in Delcambre are considering keeping their boats docked when the season opens on Monday.

“If you don’t catch any amount of large shrimp to sell to the public, it does not pay to catch the small shrimp you sell to the docks because you’re just overcoming expenses and it’s a non-paying proposition,” said Joe Sauce.

He’s been shrimping for more than 50 years and believes the once thriving industry is struggling.

“The opening week is the best week out of the year and we depend on retailing all of our large shrimp to the public. That price is not set except by us,” said Sauce.

The last time they went on strike was in 2009. Many shrimpers are keeping their boats tied to the dock and hope to make a statement.

“When we sell our shrimp to the market, the price is so low,” said Sauce. “I wouldn’t blame anyone for striking.”

Some shrimpers believe foreign imports are driving prices to record lows.

“That’s what we compete against,” Sauce said. “In matter of fact, most of the time, they’ll pay more for the imports than they pay us. It adds insult to injury.”

Johnny Bychurch is also a life long shrimperman.

“It’s hard for me to untie my boat knowing I’m working for hardly nothing,” Bychurch said.

He is hopeful President Trump will enforce tariffs on foreign shrimp. He believes if that happens, the price of local shrimp will go up.

“I pray and hope we can get something done.”

In the meantime, he says he will strike with others across the state and he wants other shrimpers to unite.

“Some don’t quit because they say they sell their shrimp to the public,” Bychurch said. “If they would only know they’re still hardly selling their shrimp for anything.”