Mudbugs more expensive than steaks - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mudbugs more expensive than steaks

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) -

By Al Showers – bio | email

BAY ST LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Crawfish is one of the seafood delicacies always on the menu at Cuz's Seafood Restaurant on Highway 603 in Bay St. Louis. Owner Melvin Barnes said the price per pound this season is more than double what it was last year. And that's a little hard to swallow.

"It's not going to be a good year for crawfish," Barnes said. "Prices started off right at $4 a pound, and we ended up getting down to about $3.60. Then the cool weather come in and we ended up getting as high as $4.89 a pound."

Crawfish farmers blame the high cost of diesel fuel and Mother Nature for the spike in prices. Diesel fuel runs a lot of water pumps on crawfish farms, and colder temperatures drive the crawfish deeper into the mud for warmth.

"This winter has taken a toll on our seafood prices, shrimp, everything."

Barnes said it's a basic supply and demand problem.

"It's just not happening. I mean, we don't have them available. Last weekend was the first weekend that I was able to have enough to sell live," Barnes said. "People like to boil their own, but the prices you're talking about, a $100 or better for a sack of live. You can eat ribeye steaks for cheaper."

"The volume that we've been able to acquire this year is much less than it's been in the past," said restaurant manager Carrie Russo. "Even with the prices being high, what we pay is much higher. Our mark-up is very small, so we have to pass that on to the customer."

For now, people are willing to pay the price for crawfish, but restaurants and seafood dealers wonder how long that will last.

Crawfish farmers expect the prices to stabilize in April as the weather warms up.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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