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Home > Resources & Publications > Newsletters & Magazines > Chenier Ecology > 2007 > 1-07

Resources & Publications:  Chenier Ecology

January 2007

Crawfish acreage this year is slightly lower than recent years at about 100,000 acres of crawfish ponds. Last year, Louisiana’s pond-raised crawfish, which were harvested from about 117,000 acres, had a gross farm value of $40 million, according to the LSU AgCenter’s Louisiana Summary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. However, if you recall last year’s season, crawfish were in short supply and quite expensive. This was due to the drought and hurricanes of 2005.

The real difference for this year’s production has been good rainfall which began in July and continued fairly regularly. Crawfish producers also received an added bonus in mid-October when heavy rains filled ponds, irrigation canals, and helped to flush any salt left over from the hurricane storm surge.

What happens in the summer affects the outcome of the spring’s crawfish crop. Dry summers have devastated the crawfish industry in the past, but this summer stayed wet enough to encourage good survival and reproduction in the crawfish burrows. Crawfish can live out of water for short periods of time as long as there is adequate moisture to keep their gills wet. So, during prolonged dry periods, crawfish will burrow down to the water table to maintain this moisture. When the water table gets too low for crawfish to burrow down to, such as in droughts, survival and reproduction is reduced lowering the following season’s catch.

Another factor which stimulated the early season production was the mild winter experienced until the first week of January. When water temperatures stay above 50 degrees, crawfish are more active, feeding and growing quite rapidly. Regular rains have helped to keep ponds refreshed and water quality has stayed good.

As we warm up into spring, the traditional Louisiana crawfish boil should be a frequent, affordable event for the 2007 crawfish season.

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