Governor John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 335 – the bill that will require Louisiana restaurants to notify their customers the place of origin of their shrimp and/or crawfish if said seafood is imported from another country – last Wednesday (June 19) morning at local restaurant the Shack, 1226 Grand Caillou Road in Houma.
The bill authored by State Rep. Jerry “Truck” Gisclair (D-Larose), who was also in attendance at the signing will require Louisiana restaurant owners to notify their customers by either labeling the origin of the foreign crawfish and/or shrimp on their menu, or having some other type of visible signage, Edwards explained at the event.
After eating a shrimp po’boy – made with Louisiana shrimp – provided by The Shack, Edwards signed the bill just before noon in a packed room full of local politicians, men and women from the seafood industry and patrons of the restaurant.
“It wouldn’t have happened without the people – whether they were in the business or the State Representative, Truck Gisclair...the state senators who really pushed for it. This bill would not have happened without them,” Edwards said after signing the bill. “And I’m glad they were able to make it happen this year because it’s something they’ve been looking for, for a long time.”
Many people in the local seafood industry feel the bill will give the shrimp industry a much-needed boost in sales, as it will hopefully encourage more Louisiana restaurants to purchase locally-caught shrimp.
The governor also recalled his time last year when he worked with Lafourche and Terrebonne shrimpers as a deckhand, where he learned from people in the shrimping industry the need for such a bill like House Bill 335 – which passed unanimously in the House and Senate.
“...That day over lunch I as being told how the price for shrimp was less than it was 10, 15, 20 years ago, but all the costs have been going up. And it just seemed like there was something we needed to do to protect this way of life,” he said. “It’s incredibly important for our economy, but it’s also important for the way of life for Louisiana. Families for multiple generations have been engaged in the shrimping business, but that future isn’t there if we don’t start doing some common sense things to support the industry.” •