Short supply means high prices for mudbugs, at least for now

Short supply means high prices for mudbugs, at least for now
Will 2019 be a good year for mudbugs (Source: Photo WLOX)

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The law of supply and demand played out Friday when it came to crawfish. Very low supply meant very high prices, but that could be changing soon.

At Taranto and Son, crawfish pictures and prices adorned the walls. The only problem, there weren’t any to buy. When they do come in, it’s sticker shock for owner Gindy Taranto.

“Right now, it’s crazy. Like we’ve never seen where we’re buying crawfish at almost $5 a pound, which is unheard of," Taranto said.

The mudbugs are scarce because the right conditions have to be met first, according seafood dealer Andy Gunkel.

“We’re still waiting for a little bit more water so the crawfish come out of the spillway rather than the ponds so that will give a price break," Gunkel said.

However, there might be good news coming.

“We’ve heard that it’s going to be a good season too," said Frank Menna, another seafood dealer, "but it hasn’t got there yet. So we’re looking forward to after the new year, usually after Mardi Gras and the Super Bowl, prices get affordable for most people.”

For Kyle Bittle, affordable can be debated. He’s from the Coast, but now lives in Arizona. He’ll pay bigtime to satisfy his craving for mudbugs.

“I know I get a lot better quality every time I come back home, and that’s really most important to me. If I can get it under $30 dollars a pound, I’m very happy," he said.

Another good sign, Mother Nature has been kind so far this winter, according to Taranto.

“As long as the weather stays mild, we should see a really good season, especially we’re getting a lot of rain right now. We haven’t had any real hard freezes," Taranto said.

Even with short supplies and high prices right now, there’s something magical about this delicacy.

“I think because the crawfish are in a limited supply, when they’re here, you’ve just got to have them," Gunkel said. "It’s almost like a Christmas present during the spring. It only comes around once a year, and you got to get it while you can.”

The peak of the mudbug season usually begins in February and lasts through June.

That could be just in time for the Super Bowl, and if the Saints land in the big game, the bugs will certainly be flying off the shelves.

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