SSA ALLIANCE WITH PUBLIC CITIZEN MISGUIDED,
DETRIMENTAL TO CONSUMERS
by Wally Stevens, ASDA President and ASDA/CITAC Shrimp Task Force Chairman
April 23, 2004 When the Southern Shrimp Alliance filed its antidumping petition on December 31, 2003, many in our industry speculated that it just a matter of time before SSA would take whatever steps necessary to win its case by playing the food safety card and by discrediting world-wide aquaculture operations.
With yesterdays announcement by Public Citizen, an anti-trade group founded by Ralph Nader, that it is launching a campaign to get people to stop eating shrimp, the SSA has now seems to be committed to attempting to bring down the entire shrimp industry. Indeed, SSA has decided to make a deal with the devil by signing on to a completely false campaign to scare consumers about the health and safety of the shrimp they eat.
Public Citizen has made no secret of its communication with the Southern Shrimp Alliance; we must conclude then that SSA has given its blessing to a campaign that (believe it or not) tells people to stop eating shrimp!
To quote from an interview with the anti-shrimp campaigns director, U.S. consumers are going to have to revere shrimp as a delicacy once again rather than a common food they pick up at McDonalds. (Quoted in the WAVE, April 22, 2004.)
Aside from the obvious elitist implications of the anti-shrimp edict (only those who can afford to buy the delicacy can have access to it), the campaigns message that there are health risks associated with consuming farm-raised shrimp is completely false.
SSA member companies need to provide the seafood industry answers to the following questions:
♦ Why is the SSA partnering with people who make no secret of their attempt to tear down our industry?
♦ Why is SSA striking a deal with an organization that on previous occasions has attempted to shut down the domestic shrimp industry for its problems with excessive by-catch and use of chemicals in processing?
♦ Does SSA support the campaign to convince consumers to stop eating shrimp?
Public Citizen is out to destroy the shrimp industry though a disinformation campaign meant to scare consumers. It is false, it is wrong and it is shameful. The campaign threatens the entire shrimp industry, farmed or wild-caught, imported or domestic.
It is suicidal for SSA to endorse these health-safety scare tactics – all in the name of winning antidumping taxes. The SSA should be careful for what it wishes. If consumers stop eating shrimp because of these lies, there isn’t a duty high enough to keep SSA members in business.
Wally Stevens, Slade Gorton & Company, Inc.
Paul Nathanson, PBN Company, or
Jeanne McKnight 1-877-206-ASDA