World Aquaculture Society Meetings

Add To Calendar 21/02/2017 14:30:0021/02/2017 14:50:00America/ChicagoAquaculture America 2017H-2B VISA WORKERS AND SEAFOOD PROCESSING INDUSTRIES IN THE U.S.: CURRENT KNOWLEDGE AND FUTURE NEEDS   Room 12The World Aquaculture Societyjohnc@was.orgfalseanrl65yqlzh3g1q0dme13067DD/MM/YYYY

H-2B VISA WORKERS AND SEAFOOD PROCESSING INDUSTRIES IN THE U.S.: CURRENT KNOWLEDGE AND FUTURE NEEDS  

Mohammad R. Hasan* and Maria Bampasidou
 
Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
Email: mhasa16@lsu.edu

Temporary guest worker programs started in the U.S. with the Bracero program which ended officially in 1965. The H-2B program started as a part of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. H-2B workers are nonimmigrant seasonal workers coming to the US, working for 10 months a year and up to three years with the same visa. Demand for H-2B workers in the seafood processing industry in the U.S. has been increasing over the last decade. These workers contribute significantly to seafood processing, especially in the crawfish, shrimp, crab, alligator, oysters, and finfish industries. Seafood processing industries have a significant economic impact in the overall economy of Gulf Coast states such as Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Optimizing the use of H-2B labor in the U.S. seafood processing industry is tied to the nature of production and processing of seafood; processing is labor intensive. With a statutory cap of 66,000 workers per year that number may not meet the demand of the seafood processing industry as other industries such as forestry, hospitality, and produce use this labor. Moreover, a recent policy change advocating an increase in the wage rate also may have an impact on the demand of these workers. It is essential to strengthen understanding and formulate appropriate policy measures on the extent of use of this labor. Particular importance should be given on (i) assessing the impact of wage policy changes in seafood processing; (ii) the preference on labor utilization as domestic vs. H-2B; and (iii) the value and economic impact of this labor along with the full costs of using this labor.

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