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House passes Phelan’s Gulf Shrimp Liberty Act

A bill that requires non-Texas commercial shrimpers to obtain an occupational license in order to unload their catches in Texas has passed the Texas House.

House Bill 1260, authored by Rep. Dade Phelan, is expected to help the state economically.

Currently, Texas has a moratorium on commercial Gulf shrimper licenses, meaning no new licenses are being issues and haven’t been issued in several years. The shrimpers being referred to in HB 1260 are the more than 500 out-of-state Gulf shrimpers who are currently not allowed to come into Texas waters without a license, according to a press release from Phelan’s office.

“HB 1260 opens up the Texas seafood market to 7 million pounds of Gulf shrimp and over $100 million in economic activity for the state of Texas”, Phelan said. “The ability for non-Texas shrimpers to unload in Texas also means that they will refuel, gather supplies, and perform maintenance on their boats, providing more jobs and generating sales tax revenue that will positively impact the coast.”

The revenue from the fee for a commercial Gulf shrimp unloading license for non-Texas shrimpers will go to the Department of Agriculture for the GO TEXAN Shrimp program which represents Texas agri-business on state, national and international levels by building recognition for the GO TEXAN mark and helping consumers find Texas products.

Shrimp industry leaders backed the bill, saying they saw no adverse affects to Texas, according to a Feb. 2 story that ran in the Port Arthur News.