With businesses big and small grappling with the economic impact of Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19), the crawfish industry in Acadiana is starting to feel the effects.
“There’s not going to be a profit in crawfish this year, there’s gonna be some farmers that shut down.. there’s no question…”
Andre' Lege is not mincing any words about what he feels will be the economic ripple effects of COVID-19 on the seafood industry.
The owner of Chez Francois - a Lafayette seafood retailer and processor - is also a crawfish farmer.
“ I’m a small farmer… I’m not making a living,” sympathizes Leger, “but the big farmers are gonna lose tremendously because they have so much more involved.”
Chez Francois remains in operation. In fact, Friday afternoon - a Friday in Lent - there was a brisk business in play.
“The good thing about what we do here is everything is packaged,” says Leger. “We’re trying to take a few customers at a time inside to shop, still processing on a daily basis… and nothing has changed here.”
A high degree of sanitation at work spaces and employees has been in play for some time, and Leger says his staff has been meticulous about maintaining safety in his processing and packaging facility.
The doors are still open at Chez Francois, and Leger is appreciative of the support of his industry in receiving in this Corona Era.
“It looks like the government wants us to stay in business, stay and process in order to provide for the public.”
But even with the doors open, Leger sympathizes with other crawfish farmers especially the rice farmers who turn to crawfish during the spring.
“Those guys depend on Lent to make a living, because rice only pays the bills.. there’s no profit in rice.. the profits are in the crawfish and there’s not gonna be a profit in crawfish this year.”