U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins is pushing legislation that would protect Louisiana’s seafood producers by banning imports of foreign seafood that doesn’t meet federal standards for manufacturing, processing and holding.
House Resolution 6212, or the Imported Seafood Safety Standards Act of 2018, would also create a program to inspect foreign seafood. Countries that import seafood that doesn’t meet the federal requirements would be penalized.
Higgins, R-Port Barre, said in a statement that the legislation would not only protect those in the seafood industry, but would ensure high-quality products for consumers. The dumping of illegal seafood is “a serious issue” that jeopardizes those in Louisiana and nationwide who make their living off catching and selling seafood that has to meet rigorous standards, he said.
“Louisiana fishermen deserve a level playing field,” Higgins said.
According to a report released last year by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, most of the seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported, with “about half” raised on fish farms. Farmers often use antibiotics or other drugs to prevent the seafood from getting infections, a problem that is caused by the farm’s confined spaces. These drugs “may result in unsafe residues in seafood that can cause cancer or allergic reactions,” according to the Food and Drug Administration.
Some of the countries listed in the report that import seafood include India, Chile, China and Vietnam.
Higgins’ legislation awaits action in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.