Louisiana officials monitor crustacean disease

May 14, 2007
Reported by Associated Press

The presence of white spot disease, which can kill crustaceans such as crawfish, shrimp and crab, has been confirmed in a quarantined crawfish pond in Saint Martin Parish, Louisiana.

Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Bob Odom says the pond was quarantined last month.  That's when Department of Agriculture and Forestry officials and aquaculture specialists from the LSU Ag-Center suspected the disease was causing crawfish there to die.

Odom says the pond will remain quarantined in hopes of preventing the disease from spreading.  In the meantime, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Bryant Hammett warned sportsmen and crawfish farmers to inform his agency of any sightings of crawfish that appear to be diseased.

Infected crustaceans can have patches or outbreaks of white, pimple-like dots on their shells.

The disease is not a health threat to humans, but can threaten a number of people's livelihoods in south Louisiana.

Odom says Louisiana cannot afford to have such a disease spreading in the state. He says the crawfish industry in Louisiana is now valued at more than 95 million dollars.