American Shrimp Processors Association Supports Wicker-Coons IUU Legislation Combatting Seafood Fraud

September 18, 2018

Caption: From left to right: VADM (ret) Michael T. Franken, United States Navy; RADM Meredith L. Austin, United States Coast Guard; American Shrimp Processors Association Executive Director, Dr. David Veal, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE); and Director of Stimson Center’s Environmental Security Program, Sally Yozell at the recent co-hosted a panel briefing on Capitol Hill on the security implications of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Photo courtesy of Oceans Caucus Foundation

Biloxi, Miss. September 14, 2018 – On September 12, the American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA) participated in a panel discussion on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on “The Security Impacts of IUU Fishing.” The Stimson Center and the Ocean Caucus Foundation sponsored the panel to engage stakeholders on IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated) fishing issues.

In particular, the panel focused on H.R. 3400, the Maritime (SAFE) Act (S-3400) legislation co-sponsored by Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Chris Coons (D-DE). The Maritime (SAFE) Act (S. 3400) bill promotes a unified, comprehensive approach to addressing and combatting IUU fishing. Panelists included ASPA Executive Director Dr. David Veal, Rear Admiral Meredith Austin, United States Coast Guard, and Vice Admiral Mike Franken, United States Navy (retired).

Dr. Veal noted after the presentation, that “ASPA strongly supports the Maritime (SAFE) Act and this bipartisan effort to comprehensively identify and address IUU efforts. IUU fishing is not only an environmental and ecological threat to our oceans, but a real national security threat to our country.”

Rear Admiral Austin and Vice Admiral Franken painted a dire picture of IUU efforts that reach beyond environmental challenges to direct national security threats. Dr. Veal stressed during the panel that IUU fishing also has food safety and economic security consequences.

The United States has a staggering seafood trade deficit, climbing to more than $16 billion in 2017.

“IUU fishing is the poison pill that taints the entire imported seafood chain, from catch to plate,” noted Dr. Veal. “Seafood trade is a major source of income for many developing countries where IUU efforts thrive. The economic interests of our seafood industry are seriously undercut by IUU activities, not just what happens on the water but what occurs during production, distribution and sale. IUU fishing and seafood fraud undercut the livelihoods of honest fishermen and seafood businesses all over the world, and we strongly support legislative efforts to address these issues.”

More information on the efforts of ASPA and its members can be accessed via


About the American Shrimp Processors Association: The American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA), based in Biloxi, Mississippi, was formed in 1964 to represent and promote the interests of the domestic, U.S. wild-caught, warm water shrimp processing industry along the Gulf and South Atlantic with members from Texas to North Carolina. We are the collective voice of the industry, and our focus is to promote the interests of shrimp processors, other segments of the U.S. domestic wild-caught warm water shrimp industry and the general public. More information is available at