Larose, LA (KPEL News) - The Louisiana shrimping industry has struggled for the last few years for various reasons, and the majority of them have nothing to do with Acts of God. A federal mandate set to go into effect under the Biden Administration threatens to crush harvesters, and shrimpers are suing to stop that from happening.

Louisiana Shrimp Association
Facebook via Louisiana Shrimp Association

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) rule set in place in 2019 requires the use of Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) on certain trawling vessel. Protecting the environment and marine life, shrimpers say, is important. However, they claim that the rule is written in a way that neglects to understand the realities of the industry and the economic impacts the mandate could have on people who devote their life to it.

Implementation of the TED mandate was delayed due to several factors, including the lack of devices available and the COVID pandemic.

The lawsuit was filed by the Pelican Institute's Center for Justice, on behalf of the Louisiana Shrimp Association. They contend that the NMFS rule fails to consider that there is minimal interaction between sea turtles and shrimpers in inshore waters. Additionally, the suit notes that the turtles nesting sites are thriving.

The complaint underscores their assertion:

only two documented interactions with sea turtles have occurred in 55 years and neither was harmed.

Shrimpers assert that imposing the rule would cost them up to $44-million.

The Louisiana shrimp industry supports more than 15,000 people, according to the Pelican Institute, and generates $1.3 billion.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit want the court to vacate the 2019 Final Rule and issue an injunction against its enforcement.

President Joe Biden, United States Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and the National Marine Fisheries Service are all listed as defendants in the complaint.

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