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Dallas Fed publication explores struggling shrimp industry

For immediate release: August 5, 2004

DALLAS—As Texas shrimpers struggle with rising costs and falling consumer prices, those who survive this economic squeeze will be the shrimpers with the most sophisticated operations, according to the latest issue of Houston Business, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Houston Branch.

“The shift will be from the single operator toward corporate business arrangements, with multiple trawlers operating under single ownership,” write vice president and senior economist Robert W. Gilmer and senior economist Timothy K. Hopper in “Texas Shrimpers Face Sea of Regulations, Flood of Imports.”

“It will be much like the shift from family to corporate farming, where high capital costs drive consolidation.”

Shrimpers are facing a wave of foreign competition, which has driven down market prices. These imports have been restricted by tariffs against six nations.

Additionally, shrimpers are coping with state and federal regulations, including those limiting when and where shrimping can occur. Shrimpers also are required to use devices designed to protect specific non-targeted marine life from being caught in nets—driving up costs for fishermen.

“Shrimper income has been squeezed between fishery regulation and the low prices offered by the marketplace in recent years,” according to the authors.

The latest issue of Houston Business can be found at


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