LOUISIANA, USA — Crawfish season is off to an early start because of above-average temperatures in November and December, according to the LSU Ag Center.
They say water temperatures in some ponds were as high as 75 degrees at the end of December, which kept newly hatched crawfish active and growing.
"When the water temperature is jumping between 60 and 70 degrees, that's optimum for crawfish growth," said Mark Shirley, an aquaculture agent for the LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant.
The upcoming freezing conditions expected this week will slow down the catch until warmer weather returns. Still some crawfish producers and buyers say this year is one of their better starts in the past five years.
Shirley says he expects this year to be a good season because of the rainy weather through early September while many crawfish were in their late-summer burrows with their young. Wet conditions help both adult and young crawfish survive until their ponds are flooded in September and October.
Louisiana is expected to have nearly 260,000 acres of crawfish ponds across the state producing nearly 150 million pounds of crawfish.