POSTED: Friday, January 31, 2014 - 7:30pm
UPDATED: Friday, January 31, 2014 - 7:34pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Crawfish season is in full swing but crawfish farmers are struggling out there.
The cold temperatures not only froze over our roads this week, it sure did a number on our local crawfish ponds and that freeze is now being felt across the state, especially by our businesses and restaurants.
“Right now the prices are the highest I have ever seen them since I have been in the business in 1972,” said manager at Tony’s Seafood Market, Bill Pizzolato.
Ponds have been frozen over for making it difficult to catch the popular shellfish.
Crawfish sure do look delicious big, red and juicy.
But don't be deceived right now; those babies are hard to come by.
"To even have the 20 something sacs that we have are a gift because I thought we wouldn't see crawfish for another week or two," noted Pizzolato.
This time last year Bill saw nearly 100 sacs of crawfish a day now he tells me he has to take it day by day and hope something comes in.
"We're probably 80-90 percent off this year compared to the last three years. The cold weather has got everything on hold."
Limited supply and high demand means an increase in prices.
Bill explains how the fisherman are having trouble with the iced over ponds. "Because fisherman might not catch but one or two sacks and their expenses is probably higher."
But locals don't seem to mind the price increase one bit.
“Prices go up if they have the best in town price don't matter,” said local, Loren Nevland.
“At Tony’s Seafood, if you get good crawfish the price doesn't matter,” said Brian Jones, a Baton Rouge local.
Bill says this hard freeze and harsh winter could not have come at a worse time.
The big problem they are facing is that the demand is so high for Super Bowl Sunday and now what people will have to do is find other options for seafood. Now all businesses can do are wait and hope mother natures brings us some sunshine.
"Be patient and hopefully it will chance."
Some local restaurants NBC33 talked to didn't even get any this week. We are expecting some colder temperatures next week but they do expect the season to get better over the next few weeks. So just keep an eye out because crawfish season is here.