Louisiana has more than 200,000 acres of crawfish production, producing more than $170 million dollars in 2015. August flooding might have caused some ponds to lose crawfish.
Crawfish farmers have started flooding their fields before the upcoming crawfish season to determining how severe the damage is to crawfish ponds. Greg Lutz, an aquaculture scientist with the LSU AgCenter believed the rain may have caused the crawfish to emerge from burrows into a hostile environment.
“When you get early floodwaters, it’s going to saturate the ground,” said Lutz. “It’s going to force her up out of the ground and that floodwater is poison. It [doesn’t have] oxygen.”
Because of the uncertainty of damage caused by the flood, it’s imperative crawfish producers monitor and scout their ponds to help determine their management strategies.
Producers are also being encouraged to sell all the crawfish they capture. According to research, there’s only a 50 percent chance of recapturing crawfish returned to the pond when they are bigger.
“If you get crawfish and you can make money selling it, sell it,” said Lutz. “That’s going to make room for other crawfish to come up behind it.”
Crawfishing is becoming more important to many farmers because of low rice prices. They are using crawfish to offset some prices.
“We’re in a downward market with the price of rice,” said Todd Fontenot, a farmer. “That makes farmers a little more reliant on their crawfish income to supplement their whole operation.”