Florida's Shrimp Industry
From Miami, the Moreira family runs an operation that's one of the biggest players in producing, distributing and marketing shrimp coming out of Central and South America.
|By 2001, shrimp became America's most-consumed seafood. Today, per capita consumption in the U.S. is 4.2 pounds.|
Ladex does $100 million in annual volume, receiving a fixed commission of 5% to 7%. It markets just a small slice of the estimated 8-billion-pound global shrimp market but has the largest single share -- though only 7% -- of the Central and South American market.
SOUTH OF THE BORDER: The Moreiras own shrimping operations in Central and South America, including this plant in Guatemala.
The Moreiras' own farming operations have withstood allegations of pollution and harm to local fishing-based economies. In 2001, according to the New York Times, protests emerged around a Moreira farm in Champerico over its effect on local fishermen, water quality and a fence. Police killed a protester while they tried to protect a farm company lawyer at one public meeting. A second man was killed at the plant weeks later by farm company guards during another protest. The company subsequently moved the fence on its property. Moreira defends the business's environmental record and says the difficulties were caused by thieves in a settlement near the farm and plant who instigated trouble among locals because their attempts to steal shrimp were being thwarted. The company lawyer was attacked while showing that the fence was on company property, and in the second incident, the "same group" broke its way through a door into the plant, Moreira says.Elmer Lopez, a former Greenpeace representative in Guatemala, says local people tell him the farm and its managers have become more positive in trying to help the community and regenerated the mangrove ecosystem. "The company hasn't (had) more problems with communities," Lopez reports. The Moreiras' processing plant provides a free school and medical care in the town.