Crawfish, crayfish, crawdad, mudbug, mountain lobster.
Whatever you call them they are the centerpiece of a boil and good times with family and friends.
This year, though, the price of crawfish is on the move upward—going higher than three dollars a pound or more. And since they’re sold by the sack, a 36-pound sack goes for $144.00.
Why are the tasty crustaceans you eat a dozen at a time costing more?
Did the big freeze have something to do with it?
Are they burrowed into the mud to stay warm?
WWL spoke with Dr. Greg Lutz, one of the top authorities on Crawfish with the LSU Agricultural Center.
“The cold weather isn’t going to hurt the crawfish at all, they’ve been around 250 million years.”
Dr. Greg Lutz with LSU Ag Center says when it gets cold, Crawfish will go deep in the water but don't burrow in the mud.
“The bigger concern is ‘what did the freezing temperature do to the food for the crawfish?’ Dr. Lutz says. “They live on slowly decaying vegetation and they live on [the organisms] that eat the vegetation.”
Dr. Lutz says Crawfish farmers are already in a tight season, with the recent freeze just complicating the matter.
“I think it’s fair to say supplies are going to be pretty tight throughout most of the season,” Lutz explains. “Historically we always see the price drop after Easter. And the price is largely dictated by supply and demand.”
Dr. Lutz says the farmers, just like crab fishermen on the 'Deadliest Catch,' need substantial numbers to pay for their harvesting efforts. Tight harvests mean less supply which only drives up the price but doesn't pay for farmer’s efforts.
“The takeaway message is there are crawfish available, you’re just going to have to look for them, and you’re going to have to pay a little more than you’re used to.”
There is a silver lining to the cloud of rising prices.
“This year, it looks like our wild crawfish crop is going to be a little bit better than expected. But it’s really unpredictable and erratic, and the bulk of our crawfish supply comes from farms.”