Spillway water expected to make crawfish harvest cheaper; more plentiful

Spillway water expected to make crawfish harvest cheaper; more plentiful

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - While the opening of the Bonnet Carre spillway is causing great concern over damage to the oyster industry, insiders say another group of commercial fishermen could actually benefit.

For Desporte and Son's Seafood in Biloxi, crawfish are big sellers. Just how big depends on the price.

"The last two years, the crawfish prices started out really really high. This year, it's already $1 cheaper than it was last year," said Sean Desporte, owner. "So this year, we're selling more crawfish than we saw at the beginning of the season. It's only going to get better."

Desporte's hope for a better harvest comes from what he's hearing from suppliers about the impact of the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway.

"They're saying with the water coming up and having a lot more water, the ponds are rising. We're going to have plenty of water throughout the year," said Desporte. "They're saying crawfish prices are going to drop lower than they have in a long time, and they're saying the prices are going to be lower. The catch is going to be plentiful, and they say we'll probably have crawfish all the way through August."

Eating crawfish in August will be a real treat since Desporte says in recent years, crawfish season has fizzled out by late June.

"As long as it's weather like this and they have a lot of water, the crawfish are healthy and they live longer and it's going to be better looking crawfish," said Desporte. "They'll be larger. They'll be more and the price will be down. "

As prices go down, owners hope to see sales profits increase. According to Desporte, it's common for commercial fishermen in Louisiana to lease land in rice fields and pay the owners part of their harvest profits. With higher water levels, some fishermen won't need to lease land, which could also help lower the price.

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