Drought and low water since 2023 have driven down productivity on Louisiana crawfish farms and the wild fishery in the Atchafalaya Basin is in question for the coming months, Louisiana State University agriculture experts are warning.

“It’s going to be the worst season ever. The population is just not there,” LSU Ag Center Crawfish Specialist Mark Shirley told The buyers are offering $7 and $8 a pound to the fishermen just to try to get them to go out and bait traps and go find them. It could be whatever price, they’re just not there.”

Recent frigid weather could make it worse for crawfish culture. Meanwhile water levels in Atchafalaya are only two or three feet and will depend on rainfall and snowmelt flowing to the Mississippi, said Shirley.“In the next several months a lot of snow melt, that’s what the Atchafalaya Basin depends on. It’s just not looking good for crawfish at all.”

With New Orleans cranking up for Mardi Gras season, crawfish shortages and high prices are the talk of the city. Prices for boiled crawfish recently have been reported to $9 and $10 a pound.

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