Crawfish farmers expect better harvests soon - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Crawfish farmers expect better harvests soon

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Across Jimmy Cantrell's 40 acres of crawfish pond in Raceland, the traps just haven't been very full this season.

The reason is very simple: too much cold weather.

"Terrible, terrible, terrible. The water temperature was in the 30s and crawfish are not going to be active at all," Cantrell said.

But things are beginning to change.

"This week was our best week we've had since we started in November," Cantrell said.

He took us for a spin through his ponds Friday. The traps Cantrell showed us haven't been baited yet, so there aren't many mudbugs in them, but the ones that are there were big and plump.

He'll bait again next week and he expects to bring in large hauls.

"Soon as that water temperature gets up there, it'll make a lot of difference," Cantrell said. "We'll catch as much as 60 sacks a week when the weather's warm."

As crawfish farmers across South Louisiana see the same turnaround, it'll mean more product for sellers like Tommy Vanacor with Les Crabe Seafood is Des Allemands.

"They'll start coming out of the ponds in Jennings and New Iberia and then they'll start coming out of the Atchafalaya. We'll start getting plenty of crawfish. Price will drop down," he said.

That's good news for consumers and those in the industry.

But Cantrell says rising costs for bait and the diesel used to circulate water through his ponds add more hardships on top of the sub par season.

Still, he's optimistic about the - up to this point - elusive spring season will bring.

"I definitely think it'll be saved. I mean, considering that Lent is later this year, I really believe that we'll do alright. I don't know if we'll do as well as previous years, but that's fishing," Cantrell said with a laugh.

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