Crawfish prices had dropped to the floor already this season – or at least what was thought to be the case.
Things have changed greatly in the past few weeks due to COVID-19, and those prices have dropped again.
An abundance of crawfish likely caused by an extended period of warmer weather led to a low price point for the consumer, with supply and demand in the latter’s favor. Live crawfish at The Seafood Pot in Destrehan priced for $2.79 a pound live and $4.25 boiled earlier this month, down from respective marks of $2.99 and $4.79 in January, when Seafood Pot manager Erik Donnaud called those marks the lowest he’d seen in 15 years for that point in a crawfish season. For those in the business, the trend was a predictable one entering 2020, and one expected to perhaps stretch the season out longer than usual.
“I didn’t see this one coming, though,” said Donnaud.
With the public exercising caution and practicing social distancing measures, the price has been affected, dropping significantly: at the Seafood Pot, the price of live crawfish is down to $1.99 a pound, while boiled is $3.99. For orders of 10 pounds boiled, the price drops to $3.50 a pound.
“I can remember it getting to $1.99 before, but always at the end of the season, never this early into it. Especially this early into Lent season,” Donnaud said. “It usually comes down after Easter, and I think it may bottom out even more at that point.”
Donnaud said demand “got shaky” for a brief time with so much uncertainty surrounding the ongoing virus pandemic.
“It got to the point where if fishermen wanted to fish, they had to come down (on price) and help,” Donnaud said. “And it’s helped a lot. We’re not selling as much, but we’re still doing pretty good for not letting people in the door.”
Donnaud was referring to his store’s safety measures in place, including curbside pickup (for boiled crawfish) and drive through accommodations.
“(Drive through) was backed up to River Road. We’re still trying to set up a point of sale outside,” Donnaud said. “It’s a big change. This is uncharted territory.”
The $3.50 sale price for 10 pounds or more, Donnaud said, is as low as he can ever remember for boiled crawfish.
The store has begun to see demand tick upward again.
“Dropping the price was the right thing to do,” he said. “I think people love their crawfish and they want to enjoy that by any means.”