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Energy & Environment

Crawfish prices rose in Texas during the pandemic and last year’s winter storm

A plate of boiled crawfish, potatoes, and corn on the cob.
Boil House
Crawfish from Houston’s Boil House.

The price of crawfish in Texas rose about 33% due to the pandemic and last year’s winter storm, according to a report from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

Live crawfish were around $3 per pound around College Station in 2020, according to A&M research. In 2022, that’s up to $4 per pound, or $120 per 30-pound bag.

The prices are even higher in areas farther from western Louisiana and Southeast Texas. In cities like Austin, Dallas and San Antonio, prices are as high as $5 per pound, according to aquaculture specialist Todd Sink.

That’s hurting crawfish farmers, since people usually eat crawfish in large social gatherings, Sink said.

"Even though they had a good harvest in 2019, 2020, it was hard to sell their crawfish because there just weren't as many people out and about doing those types of things," he said. "When we had the pandemic, and there was social distancing, and you know, everyone was quarantined, and things were shut down — well, you couldn’t have those big social gatherings.”

The price of crawfish also varies based on when you buy it. For instance, Sink said people tend to buy more crawfish around Easter.

"Most of the time it comes down to how far you are from crawfish production locations," he wrote in the report. "The bigger the market and farther away like Dallas, they can get expensive. Fuel prices have amped up those prices this year as well."

While the winter storm didn't kill crawfish crops, it did stunt their growth.

That means crawfish farmers who sell their crop by the pound typically have to sell more units of crawfish than usual.

"It's been a strange couple of years for crawfish producers," Sink said. "I'm looking forward to a year with a mild winter and without any disruptions. That should bump our numbers up.”

Copyright 2022 Houston Public Media News 88.7. To see more, visit Houston Public Media News 88.7.

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