Jumbo shrimp could cost as much as $20 a pound in Washington this summer if a federal proposal to ban shrimping in Texas waters goes into effect, says a shrimper who sends 80 percent of his catch to the nation's capital.

The proposal, already approved by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, would halt shrimping for 200 miles off the Texas coast from June 1 to July 15. It needs the endorsement of the National Marine Fisheries Service and the secretary of commerce.

Texas shrimp fleet owners are backing the measure, which they say will give the shrimp time to grow to the larger sizes that bring higher market prices. But Louisiana shrimpers are lobbying against the proposal.

They fear the shutdown in Texas waters, coupled with Mexico's ban on shrimpers 200 miles off its coast, would drive shrimpers from the entire Gulf Coast area to Louisiana, creating intense competition for the popular seafood and, possibly, touching off violence among rival crews.

Louisiana shrimpers also fear that the heavy influx of out-of-state shrimpers would dry up the state's allocation of diesel fuel, use up ice needed to preserve each boat's catch and, inevitably, create shortages and price increases, said Joe Carinhas, a Patterson, La., shrimper who ships most of his catch to the Washington area.

"We're friends with out-of-state people," said John Miajalevich, a Delcambre, La., shrimper "but the federal government is going to put a wedge between our friendship and our livelihood. What do you think is going to go first? . . . I'm not going to let anybody in the way of my making a living."

If violence erupts, both predict that operators will keep their boats in port rather than risk danger to them or their crews.

The Louisiana shrimpers have begun a letter-writing campaign in an attempt to head off the Texas shutdown.

"One of these days, a senator is going to walk into the Senate dining room and want shrimp cocktail, and the waiter is going to say, 'Sorry, we don't have any shrimp,'" said Carinhas who supplies that private eating establishment. "Maybe then we'll get some action."