Apr 29, 2011 6:52 PM by Carolyn Cerda
Acadiana crawfishermen are preparing for the possibility of rising waters in the Mississippi River and Atchafalaya Basin. They say, that water boost may also boost business.
"Some of the crawfish dealers were getting kind of worried that we might have a short season," said Carroll Snyder, co-owner of of Atchafalaya Basin Seafood. "But I think everyone has a sigh of relief now that we're getting more water, that we may have an extended season."
Snyder says the crawfish most people are seeing right now are from ponds on farms. He says, the "wild" crawfish season is just starting. "Wild" crawfish comes from other bodies of water, like the Mississippi River and the Atchafalaya Basin. When fishermen heard that those waters could be rising, they began setting their traps.
"It's real good news," said Snyder. "The first half of the season has been slow. We hadn't had any high water but we seem to be getting our water now, which is good for our wild crawfish. It might make the catch good... might have a good ending season anyway."
Snyder says the crawfishermen couldn't have asked for better timing. With wild crawfish trapping just beginning, he's hoping the influx of crawfish will offset a bad start to the season.
"That's what the fishermen are telling us and that's what we're hoping for, to make up for lost time at the beginning of the season. Business has been way off this year."
He says Atchafalaya Basin Seafood's profits are off by about 40 percent, compared to last year. He says cold weather and lack of rain contributed to that decrease.
So, are there any downsides to the increase of water? And will the possible influx of crawfish cause prices to come down? Snyder says, not likely.
"Whenever you get a little rise in the water then you can navigate the boats into the holes where the crawfish are. More water is better than not enough water. But, if this water had come earlier, we may have seen a cheaper crawfish. But with water coming late as it is we may not see a significant decrease of price, but we'll have an abundance of crawfish."