2007 crawfish harvest should exceed last year’s take

Feb. 22
February 5, 2007
Bernice Hughes
February 7, 2007
Feb. 22
February 5, 2007
Bernice Hughes
February 7, 2007

Weather conditions in early winter were favorable to the crawfish forecast, however, the recent cold snap has driven up prices, and the crawfish are smaller.


Donald Punch of Punch’s Seafood in Lockport said, “This weather is definitely bad for crawfish. It produces smaller crawfish.”


Despite last week’s slight price hike, “there is still a good demand” for the freshwater crustaceans, Punch said.

Louisiana produces over 90 percent of the nations crawfish with 70 percent of that being consumed locally. With an annual haul of over 78 million pounds crawfish is big business in Louisiana. The annual harvest of pond-raised crawfish is worth over $40 million with wild crawfish bringing in over $5 million.


This year’s harvest is expected to meet or exceed pre-hurricane Katrina and Rita levels, Dr. Greg Lutz, of the Louisiana State University’s Agricultural Center.


“Overall, it looks like we got through the summer and fall in pretty good shape, and a mild winter has helped as well,” Lutz said. “Good production should mean lower prices.”

The salinization of the water that comprises the crawfish habitat was a primary concern after the storm surge from hurricane Rita contaminated some of the crawfish habitat, he said. Recent rains have diluted the salt content to levels more favorable to the crawfish population.

Another concern affecting the crawfish harvest is the use of pesticides, Lutz said.

Pond-raised crawfish are frequently harvested on a rotational basis with the rice crop. Occasionally the pesticides used to protect the rice adversely affect the crawfish. This has a profoundly negative economic effect on crawfish operations. Alternative pesticides are being developed to eliminate this problem, according to the AgCenter.

Although the current cold snap has caused crawfish prices to rise slightly, Punch is still optimistic about this years crawfish harvest.

“The fact that prices went up hasn’t caused that much of a change. Our business still increases on the weekend,” he said.

File photo • Tri-Parish Times * The recent winter rains that washed over the Tri-parishes could, in fact, have a positive affect on the local seafood market, according to officials at Louisiana State University’s Agricultural Center. Despite a small price hike over the last week, local seafood retailers haven’t reported a drop in business.