Mudbug Industry Looking Up - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mudbug Industry Looking Up

After a three-year drought, the Louisiana crawfish business appears to be en route to a strong rebound in 2002. Agriculture agents say rain in 2001 and so far this year have returned crawfish production to traditionally normal levels. Prices for farmers are running at about 80 cents to one-dollar-and-twenty cents per pound. Those prices are expected to drop in the coming weeks as supplies increase. Last year, crawfish hit about three dollars a pound. But farmers say they make more when there are bountiful supplies at lower prices.

Meanwhile, oyster fishermen in Louisiana are recording information about their harvest that could help coastal-restoration planners avoid or minimize damage to the shellfish. The Legislature ordered the studies last year. That followed settlements with oyster farmers that cost state taxpayers several million dollars. Coastal restoration projects channel freshwater into the marshes to nourish vegetation and restore wetlands.

But the projects also displace some oyster fishermen into saltier waters. Leaseholders are required to track specific data about this year's harvest. Wildlife officials say they expect it to be a simple process.

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