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All You Need to Know About Crawfish

Louisiana Crawfish
(photo by: Chris Graythen/Getty Images Entertainment)

Crawfish has been an inherent part of Louisiana culture dating all the way back to the Native American and early European settlements. 

Abundant in the swamps and marshes of south Louisiana, crawfish were a favorite food of state’s early residents. Centuries later, time honored traditions like crawfish boils and crawfish festivals continue to be favorite events among Louisiana residents, visitors and tourists.

Crawfish (not pronounced crayfish) are freshwater crustaceans.  According to the Louisiana Crawfish Promotion & Research Board, Louisiana has more than 30 different species of mudbugs. Only two species are commercially important to the industry; the red swamp crawfish and the white river crawfish.

In the 1960′s, crawfish farming and cultivation began in man-made ponds, using controlled water levels and storage management techniques to produce a highly marketable product.

Crawfish farming has since developed into the largest freshwater crustacean Aqua Culture industry in the United States. Louisiana leads the nation, producing more than 90% of domestic crawfish. More than 1,600 farmers produce crawfish in some 111,000 acres of ponds.

Currently, More than 800 commercial fisherman harvest crawfish from natural wetlands, primarily in the Atchafalaya Basin. The combined annual crawfish yield ranges from 75 million to 105 million pounds. The total economic impact on the Louisiana economy exceeds $120 million annually and more than 7,000 people depend directly or indirectly on the crawfish industry to make a living for their families. 

To find out more about the crawfish industry and to get nutritional information and great crawfish recipes, go to www.crawfish.org.

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