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  • Writer's pictureStaff @ LT&C

Hope for crawfish in Louisiana

In a normal year, crawfish are abundant and cheap for Easter, but this year is entirely different.

Due to drought, freezes and salt water intrusion, supply is low and expensive.

Crawfish come from two main sources in Louisiana, crawfish farms and wild-caught crawfish in the Atchafalaya Basin.

When production starts in December to when it peaks in April, crawfish farms normally generate 80-90% of the supply in America, according to Mark Shirley, an LSUAg Center crawfish specialist.

However, the ponds are not producing as they typically do.

Don Benoit, owner of D&T Crawfish in Abbeville, said that his yields were 5% of what they normally are, but the numbers have improved to 25% in March.

"I've never seen anything like this," Benoit said, "and I've been doing this for almost 30 years."

D&T Crawfish has been unable to open its processing plants due to the high prices, Benoit said. There are few processing plants open in the state, and the only ones open are using tails too small to boil.

However, there is hope for the rest of the season. Crawfish from the Basin usually hit their peak between April and June as cold water flows down the Mississippi River and into the Basin, pushing crawfish out of their holes.

Due to the added protection of deep water, crawfish in the Atchafalaya Basin weren't as affected by the extreme heat and drought over the summer, according to Shirley.

It's a waiting game to see how the supply from the Basin will turn out, and if it will lower prices. However, the fate of the ponds has been decided by the weather, and farmers are likely to run out before the seasons end.


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