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The Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA), in its research report titled “A Crisis of Our Own Making,” described the role of international financial institutions, such as the World Bank, in creating an oversupply of shrimp aquaculture worldwide.
Throughout its pages, the report narrates one of the problems of the rapid expansion of the shrimp industry in the last half-century and the problems it has generated. The SSA explains that multilateral organizations have allocated resources to the growth and development of shrimp aquaculture all over the world.
As a result, regions like Asia and Latin America, thanks to the funding, have been able to boost the industry, but it has led the sector to fall into its own trap within the law of supply and demand, resulting in an oversupply.
“Along our southern coast, shrimp boats are moored, and fishermen are not working,” said John Williams, executive director of the SSA. “This industry operates without a safety net, and we are losing businesses every day. Knowing that our tax dollars are being used to make the nails for our coffins is too much, and it requires all of us to say enough is enough.”
The problem of oversupply
Currently, as explained in the SSA’s report, all shrimp producers, including American shrimp fishermen, are facing a global oversupply of shrimp and saturated world markets. This reality is compounded by multilateral groups like the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank increasing their involvement in the industry, supporting further expansion of shrimp production capacity.
The report analyzes in more detail how overcapacity and oversupply have led to significant declines in shrimp commodity prices in all markets.
As stated in the announcement of the report: “American shrimp fishermen are struggling to find customers for their catch, while their foreign competitors are lowering prices to defend their market share. However, with great fanfare, international financial institutions continue to announce new projects that support further growth in shrimp farming capacity.”
Aid that does not reach the United States
Moreover, in this final section, the SSA goes one step further.The SSA report also explains that U.S. taxpayer funds have been used to support overseas production. A product that has now been oversupplied in world markets and, when exported to the United States, has caused substantial damage to the U.S. shrimp industry.
“As detailed in ‘A Crisis Created by Ourselves,’ U.S. law requires federal government representatives designated to represent the United States at international financial institutions to ‘voice and vote’ in opposition to projects that finance shrimp aquaculture.”
The environment is secondary actor
But it not only addresses the economic aspect, but also the environmental. The SSA report also describes how continued funding for shrimp farming has directly led to increased mangrove deforestation around the world. They add that, in response to this environmental devastation, the United States assists in mitigation efforts but uses even more taxpayer funds to finance the Climate Smart Shrimp Fund program.
About the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA)
Southern Shrimp Alliance comprises shrimp fishermen, shrimp processors, and other members of the domestic industry in the eight warmwater shrimp-producing states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. The SSA represents the interests of these individuals and entities, who are all part of the shrimp industry in the Southern region of the U.S.
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