Weather patterns create perfect storm for expensive 2024 crawfish season
Crawfish season has officially begun in the Pelican State, but it is going to cost a pretty penny this year.
Merchants say weather conditions like the summer wildfires and January’s freezing temperatures are heavily impacting the prices at checkout.
“The biggest challenge has to be just being able to get live crawfish,” said Davon Seamster, manager of LA Boilers Seafood.
Seamster says the average catch is about 30 to 40 sacks of crawfish at a time, but this year it’s a little different.
“They’re just not catching enough crawfish. They’ll have 500 traps, like 500 acres, and be bringing back like three sacks,” said Seamster.
The acreage of ponds with potential losses could be higher than reported in November, according to an expert. LSU AgCenter Crawfish Specialist Mark Shirley said it could be 75-100,000 acres that may not produce any crawfish and 200,000 acres with a reduced harvest.
Although crawfish is a huge food staple in Louisiana, Seamster says foot traffic has been slow.
“Because we don’t have any live crawfish and we only have frozen, people scared to come try the frozen and nobody wants to spend, you know, $16 on one pound of crawfish,” said Seamster.
Seamster says LA Boilers Seafood allows you to try the crawfish before you buy it.
The impact on everyone in the multi-million-dollar industry has been significant already—enough that Republican Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins is requesting federal assistance for the state’s crawfish industry.
Crawfish prices have doubled since 2023. Going from $5.99 to $10.99 per pound with live and boiled as high as $14.99.
“The high prices is not because crawfish farms are trying to take advantage of the market,” said Shirley. “They just can’t afford to fish at a lower price.”
Crawfish sellers say prices could go down as early as March.
LA Boilers Seafood is only selling frozen crawfish starting at $7.99 per pound. They’re located at 9085 Perkins Road.
Seamster says frozen crawfish means it was put in a vacuum-sealed bag and frozen at the end of last season.