Crawfish crisis: Drought dries up crawfish farming, prices rise

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – Last Summer and Fall’s drought is going to have an impact on this Spring’s dining options, especially if your dinner plans include crawfish.

It is a staple in the south, and for 42 years, it has been a tradition at Brewski’s in Starkville.

“Crawfish is a huge commodity for our business, we move a lot of crawfish here. We have been doing it for 42 years, so it is a necessity for us for sure,” said Ashley Ray, the owner of Brewski’s.

Ray said last year’s lack of water is impacting her business this year.

“The farmers are telling us due to the drought that we have had this year, is really affecting the crawfish. A lot of them are dead, they are finding a lot of dragonfly larvae in the traps instead of crawfish, which is their source of food, and so that is usually not a good sign,” said Ray.

Bart Wood, the general manager of The Little Dooey in Starkville, said he was also seeing inventory dry up.

“A lot of farmers could not pump the water to flood the fields for the crawfish. The crawfish that should have been ready by Thanksgiving, and that should have started selling in January are nowhere to be found,” said Wood.

Both Ray and Wood are relying on Mother Nature to help restock the crawfish.

“I am just praying that something happens with all this rain and get them out of the mud, and get them caught in the crawfish traps. That way we can move some products, because the more product that is available, the cheaper the price,” said Ray.

“We should be selling crawfish this time of year. But as things are happening right now, it is still a situation where there is no crawfish to be bought for under $10 a pound right now. I did check with someone this morning and they said it did start to come down a little bit, but the fishermen are still getting it for $7.50 a pound, which means we are selling it for $10 a pound. It is just really expensive this time of year,” said Wood.

Wood said if they are able to get crawfish, be prepared for a hit to your wallet. The prices will more than likely triple from what they were last year.

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