The Louisiana crawfish industry has seen drastically reduced sales since the outbreak of COVID-19 has forced people into isolation.
Local farmers are attempting to rework their business models, selling their catch to individual homes rather than supplying for restaurants--but households make purchases on a much smaller scale than restaurant orders. With restaurants closed, and gatherings such as crawfish boils prohibited, businesses have only been able to sell between 10 and 15 percent of the product they have.
Texas and Mississippi have also halted restaurant service in attempt to contain the virus, which eliminates another consumer base.
The crawfish industry contributes $300 million to the Louisiana economy annually. The hit has come at the worst time, coinciding with what would normally be peak restaurant season, with more tourists visiting in the spring before the summer heat swells up. Because of the decline in demand, crawfish prices have dropped to $1.99 a pound.
In hopes of combatting the problem, the LSU AgCenter has recommended that Louisiana families buy crawfish for freezing, as it can be kept for three months.
For now, even though it'll be awhile before people will be able to gather in large numbers for backyard boils, private boils within individual families can help support the industry, and help fight the quarantine blues.