LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Crawfish sellers in south Louisiana are reporting larger mudbugs in the early part of the season, and they are crediting a relatively warm winter thus far.
Heather Girouard, general manager of Hook & Boil restaurant in Broussard, tells The Advertiser that small crawfish are usually expected in January, but she's seeing medium and large ones already.
Several seasonal restaurants are opening this month to serve though early summer.
The bigger crop hasn't translated into lower prices that are usually seen in the later in the season after Lent. Most restaurants are still charging nearly $25 for three pounds.
"Crawfish farmers are selling from $2.50 to $2.25 all the way to $1.50," said David Savoy, a member of the Louisiana Crawfish Promotion and Research Board. "A lot of that depends on the size. The big disparity is what we get per pound and what we the public has to pay."
With the downturn in the regional economy, many residents are expected to be tightening their budgets this year, Savoy said.
"Crawfish is a luxury item. There's no way around it," he said. "What ends up happening is it becomes something people will put off. If they were eating it once a week, they may put it off and eat it once a month of just once a year."
According to the research and promotion board, Louisiana's crawfish industry generates more than $300 million a year. On average, the industry harvests between 120 million to 150 million pounds a year.