Louisiana crawfish crop unaffected by oil spill

The following is a news release from the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry:

Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said crawfish is a freshwater seafood and will not 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," Strain said. "Plan your corporate and backyard crawfish boils. Invite your friends over for an ├ętouffee dinner. Our Louisiana crawfish producers will continue to fish to supply the state and national demand."

LSU AgCenter Aquaculture Professor Robert Romaire 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," Romaire said. "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," Romaire said. "The wild crawfish crop accounted for nearly 15.5 million pounds."

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

Crawfish farmer David Savoy of Acadia Parish 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.

Savoy is a member of the Louisiana Crawfish Promotion and Research Board and president of the Louisiana Crawfish Farmers Association.

"We're plenty far away from the oil spill and there's no danger that our crawfish ponds will be affected," Savoy said.

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.