CRAWFISH CATASTROPHE: It’s Terrible News for Texas Mudbug Lovers
Crawfish Season Usually Runs from January through late Spring
Experts at the LSU Ag Center Have Released Their Latest Crawfish Outlook
This could be one of the worst crawfish crops ever
Just after the start of the new year, Crawdaddy's Boil-N-Go in Lufkin and Diboll announced that they would open up and start serving boiled crawfish at their locations on January 11th.
I reached out to other restaurants and seafood markets and posted a story about when they planned to start selling mudbugs. All the ones I talked to said it would be late January to early February before their sales started. There wasn't enough crawfish available yet from their suppliers.
That news didn't worry me. Mid-January is pretty early in the crawfish season, and I've seen slow starts in years past for mudbugs. By the time the Super Bowl rolls around in February, crawfish boils and live bags of crawfish are plentiful.
This year, however, could be very different.
Very Bad News from LSU
Mark Shirley is an agent with the LSU AgCenter, and he is considered a resident specialist on crawfish. According to a report, Shirley is on record saying that this year's mudbug crop could be the worst ever.
The long-lasting drought in southern Louisiana is the biggest culprit. The lack of water and high heat produced a high mortality rate of crawfish brood stock. These would usually be the crawfish being caught during the winter months to get the season kicked off on the right foot.
Many traps are simply coming up empty right now. Quite a few farmers are having to resort to increasing their use of pumps to flood their crawfish fields. That greatly increases their costs, which ends up being passed onto the consumer.
Here's a look at the entirety of Shirley's dire statement on the 2024 (and 2025) crawfish season.
Is There Any Good News?
I've combed through Shirley's assessment, and it does look very bleak. Phrases such as "... a fraction of what is normally caught", and "...record high prices" can not be sugar-coated.
He does state that there could be a pick up to the crawfish crop in April and May, but it would not be sustainable for the entire spring. So, it looks like whatever mudbugs that are available in 2024 will come at a high price.
I know Crawdaddy's was forced to kick off their sales at nearly $14/pound. Hopefully, those prices will be coming down as we get closer to February. But, if Shirley's forecast holds true, the lowest crawfish prices of 2024 may be at least double what they were in 2023.
Pinching tails this year is going to put a huge pinch on your pocketbook.
One last possible piece of good news, a drenching rain event is expected across much of south Louisiana next week. I'm not sure how much good that will due for this year's crop, but it surely can't hurt for future crops.
Keep the crawfish farmers in your prayers, too. If the season is as bad as they say it will be, that could drive some of the farmers out of business.
Historical Look at Highest Crawfish Prices
Historical Look at Lowest Crawfish Prices