HOUMA, La. (AP) — The long, cold winter means crawfish are scarce and expensive.
During cold weather, crawfish stay at the bottom of their ponds or streams, and don't eat. That means they're much smaller than usual for this time of year — and they're not taking the bait in crawfish traps.
Todd Quebedeaux, owner of All Dat Seafood in Houma, said he's waiting for the price to drop before selling mudbugs again, he told The Courier (http://bit.ly/1oAOhS1 ).
Cajun Critters Seafood and Big Al's Seafood restaurants on Tunnel Boulevard in Houma both were selling boiled crawfish for $7 a pound.
Restaurants usually charge $3 to $4 a pound for boiled crawfish, but the price is nearly $8 at restaurants and markets across the state, according to the Gulf Seafood Institute.
Quebedeaux said live crawfish prices have risen to $3.25 per pound wholesale, so he'd have to charge at least $3.50 to make a profit.
"If I had to sell them at $3.50 a pound, it would cost $140 for a 40-pound sack," Quebedeaux said. "The average person can't pay that, and I can't see charging them that."
Seafood Outlet in Thibodaux, was selling live crawfish for $3.79 a pound.
At Fisherman's Cove in Kenner, owner Rene Cross Jr. told WDSU-TV (http://bit.ly/1ghHuIu ) he's getting about 50 sacks a day — half the usual amount this time of year. He was selling live crawfish for $3.90 a pound.
Louisiana produces more crawfish than any other state. The LSU AgCenter estimates that the 91 million pounds of wild and farmed crawfish produced last year had a value of about $152.8 million.
Lent, when many Catholics and other Christians don't eat meat on Fridays, is usually a hot season for crawfish.
"I have been doing this for 14 years, and these are the worst numbers for price and yields that I've ever seen, and I keep very good records," said Stephen Minvielle, director of the Louisiana Crawfish Research and Promotion Board and the Louisiana Crawfish Farmer's Association.