WASHINGTON — They survived hurricanes and oil spills, but Gulf Coast shrimp processors say there's no way they can battle foreign governments to stay in business.
While Americans gobble up imported shrimp as never before, processors from Florida to Texas say they can't compete with billions in subsidies that are propping up shrimpers in places such as China and Thailand while driving down the price for American consumers.
"You can buy shrimp cheaper than you can buy bologna right now .... We just don't have the kind of money and backbone to stay in business competing against these countries," said Richard Gollott Sr., a co-owner of Golden Gulf Coast Packing Co. in Biloxi.
With imports now accounting for more than 90 percent of the U.S. shrimp market, processors say it's time to fight back: They want the federal government to put new tariffs on imported shrimp, making it more expensive to sell in the United States.
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