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Weather puts chill on crawfish harvest

Chris Jacobs is experiencing a little “sticker shock.” Owner of the Sportsman’s Lodge in Jackson, Jacobs is preparing for the first crawfish boil of the season, and cannot believe the asking price of “mudbugs.

“We’re paying over 50 percent more per pound for crawfish this year as opposed to last year,” he said. “Our supplier in Louisiana tells me it’s because we actually had a winter this year after several years of mild winters.

Indeed, the weather has put a chill on crawfish harvesting. Louisiana Crawfish Farmers Association director Stephen Minvielle says his 1,100 traps brought in 261 pounds last week and 258 the week before. That compares to 900 pounds a day at this time last year.

He says ponds throughout the 26 crawfish-producing parishes have also had small harvests. But he says that’s just a cycle.

Crawfish get less active in the cold, so they’re less likely to be attracted by bait in traps.

Minvielle says some crawfish farmers who also grow rice have been draining their fields for planting, because rice prices are up.

“I guess the mud bugs are staying in the ground longer and it’s more expensive to pull them out,” Jacobs said. However, he added that he was advised by the supplier that the price of crawfish will spiral downward once the weather warms up.

— The Associated Press contributed to this story

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