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Exactly how big is the crawfish industry in Louisiana?

Posted at 9:05 PM, Apr 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-19 22:05:10-04

Good Friday marks the beginning of one of the biggest weekends for crawfish, bringing an economic boom for seafood businesses.

Crawfish is the king of Louisiana. In fact, it’s the state’s official crustacean.

Commercial sales of crawfish date back to the late 1800s. At that time, crawfish was harvested in natural waters with a recorded value of up to $3,000.

Fast forward to today, the industry has clawed it’s way to the top, making millions.

Coming from mostly man-made ponds, crawfish gives some farmers with rice fields another source of income.

According to the Louisiana Crawfish Promotion and Research Board , the state produces more than 90 percent of the crop, and the industry makes more than 300 million dollars annually.

More than 7,000 people depend directly or indirectly on the crawfish industry. Andre Leger of Chez Francois is one of them.

“Easter weekend, Good Friday is a huge weekend,” Leger said. “We do 50 percent of our income during crawfish season, which is four to six months. Actually, three to four months, we do 50 percent of our revenue.”

Leger says business is booming during Easter weekend.

“(we) probably sell a thousand sacks, about 1500 sacks of crawfish,” Leger said.

He admits it hasn’t been the best season for crawfish this year with the cold and rainy weather. However, there won’t be a shortage of the crop.

“It looks promising,” Leger said. “You know, things are going to look real good after Easter. The price is going to settle down. The weather is going to settle down. You’re going to start having all these festivals.”

The peak months are March, April and May. Those months are when supplies are greatest, and quality is best.

The combined annual yield ranges from 120 million to 150 million pounds, so there should be plenty to go around and eat.