Collateral Damage

USDA’s Seafood Program Is Doing More Harm Than Good

USDA catfish regulation is not and has never been about food safety. It’s a program, pushed for by the domestic catfish lobby, designed to block their imported catfish competition from the market. They’d like nothing more than to expand the program to products like shrimp and tilapia. In the meantime, the anti-competition strategy is killing programs designed to do things like help save the Chesapeake Bay and provide jobs to impoverished neighbors.  

Blue catfish are destroying the Chesapeake Bay. Congress isn’t helping.

“…experts say a new federally mandated catfish inspection program threatens to hamper these efforts to control the swelling population of so-called blue cats.”

“Hundreds of members of the Senate and House have since been working to kill the program, calling it a waste of resources designed to protect a few Southern states…”

“Both the Trump administration and Congress have been trying to ditch the inspection program.”

“I really don’t see anything good in this at all,” L.W. Nixon, a third-generation catfish processor.



GOP’s Bootstrap Hypocrisy

“How strongly do GOP leaders believe this “bootstrap out of poverty” approach?”

“…an aquaculture company in the Dominican Republic… raises [cat] fish in all natural, clear mountain water and with locally produced feed. The operation employs more locals than any other employer in the region, and it produces goods for export, bringing much needed dollars into the local economy. “

“The unintended consequences of such selfish manipulation of food-safety policy will be to cut off the fish trade with a region and country that needs the industry. The families that have, literally, learned to fish will lose their jobs and opportunities to improve their lives.”