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Crawfish unaffected by oil spill

Consumers will be pleased to know that Louisiana crawfish is freshwater seafood and won’t be affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

“We want to let everyone know that the Louisiana crawfish season is in full swing and crawfish should be plentiful through the end of June,” said Mike Strain, Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner. “Plan your corporate and backyard crawfish boils. Invite your friends over for an étouffee dinner. Our Louisiana crawfish producers will continue to fish to supply the state and national demand.”

Robert Romaire, LSU AgCenter aquaculture professor, said crawfish production areas are located inland and far away from any possible impact from the oil spill.

“Crawfish are raised in freshwater ponds and the Atchafalaya Basin,” said Romaire. “There are no crawfish ponds sufficiently close to the coast that can be impacted by the oil spill.”

Romaire said LSU AgCenter statistics from the past decade show a large percentage of the crawfish crop is harvested from ponds.

“More than 98 million pounds of crawfish came from domestic ponds in 2009,” said Romaire. “The wild crawfish crop accounted for nearly 15.5 million pounds.”

The gross farm value of the 2009 crop was $125 million.

David Savoy, an Acadia Parish crawfish farmer, said, “Some farmers are pumping water from their wells into the ponds because it’s been so dry lately. Crawfish are moving pretty well right now but it’s important to maintain good water quality.”

The water is pumped from fresh water wells that tap the Chicot Aquifer.

“We’re plenty far away from the oil spill and there’s no danger that our crawfish ponds will be affected,” said Savoy, a member of the Louisiana Crawfish Promotion and Research Board and president of the Louisiana Crawfish Farmers Association.

Jody Meche, an Atchafalaya Basin crawfisherman from St. Martin Parish, said “As long as there’s a current coming down the Atchafalaya River, there’s no chance that the oil spill could affect our catch. There is no way the oil is going to travel up to our fishing areas.”

Meche is a member of the Louisiana Crawfish Promotion and Research Board and vice president of Louisiana Crawfish Producers-West.

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