Crawfish crisis leads to disaster declaration by Louisiana governor

Extreme weather has caused a crawfish crisis in Louisiana, prompting Governor Jeff Landry to issue a disaster declaration. A brutal and ongoing drought dried out the ground to the point that crawfish can't burrow to lay eggs. The resulting crawfish shortage has decimated the state's $300 million crawfish industry by more than half for the year.

"Mardi Gras 2024 was still celebrated, but this time without abundant and affordable crawfish," stated Mike Strain, commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. "For the first time in many years, due to sustained drought in 2023 and freezing temperatures in early 2024, crawfish are simply unavailable."

From CNN:

Louisiana also grappled last year with saltwater intrusion on the Mississippi River, which contributed significant damage to the industry. Crawfish, which are freshwater creatures, are unable to tolerate high salt levels. Salt makes it difficult for the crawfish to breed, grow and survive.

These combined effects led to a significant decline in crawfish populations in farms and in the wild, resulting in lower harvest yields and higher prices, according to the state's Department of Agriculture and Forestry. The small yield greatly affect crawfish farmers, who rely on the season's bountiful harvest, which begins in late November and lasts through the spring, for their income.