Feds Investigate Alleged Foreign Shrimp Subsidies

FILE - In an Aug. 16, 2010 file photo, shrimpers haul in their catch in Bastian Bay, near Empire, La., on the first day of shrimping season. Efforts to protect endangered sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico have prompted strenuous complaints from the dwindling fleet of shrimpers blamed for drowning them in their nets, who say their own livelihoods are threatened. By next March the federal government wants about 2,435 shrimp boats, most run by mom-and-pop operations, to install turtle-saving gear in their nets to protect the turtles, whose survival has gained renewed concern after BP's catastrophic 2010 Gulf oil spill. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, file)
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The U.S. Commerce Department says it is investigating subsidies in eight nations for frozen warmwater shrimp.

Gulf of Mexico shrimpers had asked for the investigation of subsidized imports from China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

David Veal, executive director of the Coalition of Shrimp Industries, tells The Times-Picayune that it's likely to be nine months before any decision on whether to impose duties to offset those subsidies.

The coalition formally asked for the investigations on Dec. 28.

Commerce officials say an initial assessment found reason to investigate 117 of 133 subsidy programs alleged by the coalition.

They cover frozen warm-water shrimp and prawns packed with marinade, spices or sauce.

Investigators won't look at programs for fresh, breaded, cold-water, or other types of shrimp.

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