The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

Southern Shrimp Group Left Out of Federal Funding Net

with one comment

shrimpers2Unruly U.S. crustaceans are apparently under control.

At least, that’s what one might gather from the fact that a $5 million federal appropriation for Wild American Shrimp Inc. didn’t make the Congressional cut.

Requested by both Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Henry Brown, among others, the money would have gone to “continue a national research and development program for new products, improved quality assurance, and marketing, of domestic wild shrimp.”

However, an earmark for the Charleston-based organization was not included in the FY2010 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill, which is working its way through the legislative process.

Charleston-based Wild American Shrimp, the marketing arm of Southern Shrimp Alliance, is described as a “non-profit organization dedicated to developing new U.S. Gulf and South Atlantic products and implementing a quality assurance certification program that gives consumers a meaningful choice and assures that they are purchasing a premium product harvested from a sustainable shrimp fishery in domestic waters.”

One of its goals is, ultimately, to reduce foreign competition. Wild American Shrimp argues that U.S.-harvested shrimp are of higher quality than crustaceans imported from many other parts of the world, and it’s gotten millions of taxpayer dollars in the past to promote that view.

The organization, formed in 2004 to assist shrimpers in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, received a $5 million federal appropriation in FY2006 and another $1 million in FY2005.

It also received nearly $3.7 million from the National Oceanic and Atmosperhic Administration, according to a 2004 press release

It’s also received some unwanted attention from those who question the validity of the appropriation:

  • “Are American shrimp unruly and lacking initiative?” Senator John McCain asked on the floor of the Senate in 2004, inquiring about the $1 million appropriation for the “Wild American Shrimp Initiative” that was included in the $388 billion omnibus spending bill passed by Congress that year. 
  • “I don’t know about you, but I like shrimp — and anything that enhances their initiative is okay with me,” added famed libertarian Harry Browne tongue in cheek, a short time later.

In 2007, Wild American Shrimp announced plans to introduce a self-funding process, which would include a combination of federal government assistance, voluntary industry contributions, foundation grant applications and a financial assessment to be paid on each pound of Certified Wild American Shrimp sold.

However, it’s not clear how successful that initiative has been as Wild American Shrimp officials declined to return calls.


Written by Cotton Boll Conspiracy

October 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm

One Response

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  1. The funding was requested by industry to be transfered from the S-K fund that was established to promote and develop american fisheries. The fund has been transfering its entire 80 million dollars funded from duties on imported shrimp to NMFS operating budget for the past several years. This could have benn done by appropriations directive. None of the funds would have been from tax dollars. THE DOMESTIC SEAFOOD INDUSTRY IS BEING ROBBED OF THESE FUNDS BY NMFS. THOSE SENATORS AND CONGREESMEN SUPPORTING THIS REQUEST WERE SIMPLY TRYING TO PUT THOSE DOLLARS WHERE

    ernie anderson

    December 12, 2009 at 2:15 pm

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