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Seafood Labeling Bill One Step Closer To Becoming Law

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The local shrimp industry hopes the bill encourages more restaurants to buy domestic shrimp -- rather than rely on cheap imports.

A seafood labeling bill is one step closer to becoming law after sailing through a legislative committee meeting on Wednesday.

The bill, HB 335, would require any Louisiana restaurant that serves shrimp or crawfish to say what country that crustacean comes from.

State Representative Truck Gisclair (D-Larose) filed the bill. He says it’s all about consumer awareness: letting people know what they’re putting in their bodies and where it’s from.

The local shrimp industry, which has dwindled due to competition from cheap imports, supports HB 335.

 

David Veal, Executive Director of the American Shrimp Processors Association, spoke in favor of it. Acy Cooper, President of the Louisiana Shrimp Association, hopes the bill will create more business for local shrimpers. He thinks most people assume they’re eating domestic shrimp when they sit down at a local restaurant.

“They’re not,” says Cooper. “The restaurants are gonna have to change a little bit and start looking for more domestic shrimp.”

On Wednesday, the bill unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare. Prior to that, it passed through the House of Representatives with 99 votes for and no opposition.

The bill now goes to the Senate floor for debate. If it passes, it’ll head to the governor’s desk to be signed law.

Support for the Coastal Desk comes from the Walton Family Foundation and the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

As Coastal Reporter, Travis Lux covers flood protection, coastal restoration, infrastructure, the energy and seafood industries, and the environment. In this role he's reported on everything from pipeline protests in the Atchafalaya swamp, to how shrimpers cope with low prices. He had a big hand in producing the series, New Orleans: Ready Or Not?, which examined how prepared New Orleans is for a future with more extreme weather. In 2017, Travis co-produced two episodes of TriPod: New Orleans at 300 examining New Orleans' historic efforts at flood protection. One episode, NOLA vs Nature: The Other Biggest Flood in New Orleans History, was recognized with awards from the Public Radio News Directors and the New Orleans Press Club. His stories often find a wider audience on national programs, too, like NPR's Morning Edition, WBUR's Here and Now, and WHYY's The Pulse.

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