Seafood Pot: ‘We’re in a really good spot with it right now’
With this weekend’s Super Bowl and Mardi Gras season rapidly approaching, here’s some good news: the crawfish supply is strong early in its season and its price has largely followed suit, according to local vendors.
Seafood Pot Manager Erik Donnaud said the price of crawfish is “the cheapest he’s seen in a while” at this time of the year, something he attributes to a stronger than average supply over the first few weeks of the year.
“It’s a lot cheaper,” he said. “We’ve sold crawfish as high as $5 a pound. This year, it’s at $2.49 (live). Usually, it’s about $4, so we’re in a really good spot with it right now.”
He believes the weather has more than a little to do with it. Because there haven’t been sustained cold fronts through the fall and winter, the water has maintained a warm enough temperature for crawfish to thrive.
Willie Hebert, owner of Hebert’s Seafood in Boutte, concurred with that thought.
“If we get a couple of cold fronts, that could change things and shut it down,” he said. “Weather’s always the biggest determining factor.”
Supply and demand ultimately determines the cost of the crawfish, and while supply fluctuates with seasonal conditions, the demand has steadily been growing over the past few years, Hebert said.
“That comes from more demand out of state,” Hebert noted. “Texas, Arkansas, people in those states have become more accustomed to crawfish as we’ve gone on. It’s just like alligator. After Swamp People gained popularity, now you’ve got people all over eating gator meat, where you didn’t see as much of that before.”
The supply is strong, but the demand will grow over the next few weeks.
“We expect sales to increase with the holidays … The Super Bowl isn’t really considered a national holiday, technically, but it’s almost treated like it. The same for Mardi Gras here.”
Hebert noted the weather can also create a longer crawfish season, which could extend into the year as far as July, if the conditions are right.
Donnaud said he believes all signs point to the season continuing to be a productive one — meaning there should be plenty of tasty crawfish to go around for hungry locals.
“With the price so low, we’re seeing more (demand) early,” Donnaud said. “We’re selling a lot more in January (than usual) … everything points to a great season. I see it continuing.”