NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Local seafood markets are preparing for an onslaught of customers as we near the end of the Lenten season. And while warmer weather has helped the crawfish crop and prices, another crustacean is in short supply.
At Captain Sid's Seafood in Bucktown, raw crawfish were scooped up. Others were on a conveyor belt. With just days before Good Friday, the pressure is on.
"We're basically selling things that are still swimming in the water," said Manager Clint St. Philip.
He said this time of the year regular customers know to get their orders in early.
"Our books are pretty full at this moment," St. Philip said.
Getting crawfish into seafood markets is not a problem right now. Still, heavy demand affects prices.
"The price just went up 25 cents as of this morning, and so we're looking at $2.99 live and $3.90 boiled," St. Philip said.
Miles away, a crawfish distributor in Point Coupee Parish knows the appetite of seafood consumers well.
"No matter how much these ponds catch, there's always a shortage during Easter week," said Tim LeBlanc of LeBlanc Processing.
LeBlanc spoke generally about prices consumers can expect to pay.
"Prices this year are pretty reasonable. You should be able to buy a good sack of crawfish between $70, $80 bucks, as compared to last year it was more around $100, $120," LeBlanc said.
Back at Captain Sid's in Metairie, fresh shrimp were also on display.
"We have a 21-25 which is $6.75 a pound, and we also have a 10-5 count which is $8.10 a pound," St. Philip said.
Technically, it is not shrimp season.
"We are getting some shrimp in, plenty of fish as well," said St. Philip.
But fresh crabs are harder to come by, he said.
"Crabs are a scarce supply right now, even getting the fresh crab meat, it's here, we do it, but it is limited," said St. Philip.
Still, there's plenty of other seafood on hand that promises to keep St. Philip filling orders.
"Good Friday is controlled madness. We've been doing this for a long time, so we'll be ready," said St. Philip.