October 18, 2013
The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has fired back after Louisiana shrimp were “red-listed” by a California aquarium's seafood program that's popular with environmentally conscious people and followed by national retailers.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program has recommended all shrimp harvested from Louisiana be avoided because state law doesn't require local officials to enforce federal regulations to use turtle excluder devices to protect sea turtles and other species from being caught accidentally by shrimpers.
Calling the label unfair, LDWF Secretary Robert Barham asked the aquarium's director to rethink the decision.
Barham said he believes most shrimpers use the devices and federal agencies such as the Coast Guard are referring violators to federal authorities for enforcement.
“Data between October 2011 and January 2013 show that 187 vessel inspections were conducted in state waters. This compares to only 34 in each of Florida and Mississippi and three in Alabama. Violations of these federal laws in state waters are reported to federal authorities,” Barham's letter states.