Holy Week crawfish supply should satisfy demand

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LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - Louisiana crawfishermen and the merchants who sell the crustacean to retail customers say the supply should be enough to satisfy appetites during Holy Week and Easter weekend.

It’s a welcome turn to a season marred by a harsh winter that stunted crawfish growth, limited the catch and made profit forecasts bleak.

In the days leading into Holy Week, The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1ko6LGc ) prices for a pound of live crawfish ran from $2 at Db Seafood in Morgan City to $2.49 at Tony’s Seafood Market and Deli in Baton Rouge.

The price was somewhere in between at D&T; Seafood in Abbeville, where live, small-sized crawfish sold for $1.50 a pound and the mediums went for $2.25.

“We’re going to have a decent supply” for Easter week, said D&T; owner Don Benoit.

A boiled batch of crawfish this past week cost $4.98 to $4.70 per pound for the large-sized at D&T; Seafood, a serving that includes potatoes and corn. At Db Seafood, it was $3 a pound but without potatoes and corn. At Tony’s, customers paid $3.69 a pound, but it didn’t come with the extras.

It was slow going for months, Tony’s co-owner Bill Pizzolato said, but supplies have improved enough to pull prices down 50 cents per pound over the past week.

“We don’t know what Easter week (prices) are going to be,” Pizzolato said, explaining that heightened demand this week should drive up prices.

Pizzolato said he buys Atchafalaya Basin crawfish from the Belle River area and pond crawfish from farmers in Evangeline, Vermilion and Acadia parishes.

Crawfish in south Louisiana mainly come from two sources: the Atchafalaya Basin, which starts producing crawfish in late winter and spring; and from pond farmers across south and central Louisiana who start harvesting flooded fields in November.

Stephen Minvielle, who farms 80 acres of ponds in Iberia Parish and is head of the Louisiana Crawfish Farmers Association, said pond fishermen are just starting to climb out of the financial hole.

“We’re not doing well. We’re doing OK,” Minvielle said. “Well means you’re in the black and profitable and working on substantial returns. OK means you’re getting some of your investment back with a few crumbs in the end.”

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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