Gulf Shrimp Struggles

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The last few years have been tough for people who make their living on the Gulf catching shrimp. They've faced an invasion of cheap foreign shrimp dumped on the U.S. market.

The federal government is trying to level the playing field, imposing tariffs on the imports, but as Newschannel 7's Amy Morris tells us, some say it's too little, too late.

Dicky Raffield used to have several shrimp and fishing boats. Now, he sells fresh Gulf shrimp from his driveway.

"It affected all of us. Just before that the Vietnamese came in and they called it free trade."

The Bush administration is supporting tax on foreign shrimp. Southern Shrimpers filed a lawsuit claiming the cheap imports drove them out of business.

Raffael says it's too late for him to go back, but he hopes a tariff will help others. For now he'll rely on customers like Jimmy who only want the real thing when it comes to Gulf shrimp.

Jimmy Langley, a shrimp buyer, says, "That stuff at the chain grocery stores was bred in ponds overseas, it doesn't taste the same."

The International Trade Commission imposed preliminary tariffs on shrimp from Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Thailand and Vietnam earlier this year, and those counties have been paying.

A final vote on a fixed tariff rate was due to happen Thursday. There’s no word yet on that vote.