VOTERS ENCOURAGED TO ADOPT SHRIMP AMENDMENT
The Alabama Farmers Federation has endorsed a proposed amendment that could help boost the state's seafood industry.
|Joe Potter, left, a shrimp boat owner from Bon Secour, discusses the upcoming vote for Amendment 4 with Ernie Anderson, president of the Organized Seafood Association of Alabama. The proposed amendment has been endorsed by the Organized Seafood Association of Alabama as well as Alabama Catfish Producers.|
Amendment 4 will appear on the statewide ballot Nov. 2 and is endorsed by the Alabama Catfish Producers and the Organized Seafood Association of Alabama.
If approved, the seafood industry can hold a referendum to "self-assess" a small amount to fund promotions such as product advertising. A statewide vote is required because it is a revenue issue and would be handled by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.
The seafood industry has sought ways to compete with cheap foreign shrimp blamed for the low shrimp prices that have driven some domestic fisherman into bankruptcy.
The assessment would be collected on the sale of shrimp and seafood or diesel fuel purchased for use in any commercial shrimp boat licensed to do business in Alabama.
The amount raised would be determined later by a committee of producers who also would determine, to some degree, how the money would be spent.
One checkoff option is to assess producers up to two cents per pound on shrimp, for example.
Several similar checkoff programs operate successful within the state, including cattle, catfish, cotton and soybeans.
If voters allow the self-assessment, participation in the program by producers would be voluntary. It is not a tax and will be of no cost to consumers.