How Crawfishing Works

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Submitted By jjacobsen010
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How Crawfishing Works

Introduction Crawfish are freshwater shellfish that have been cultivated in Louisiana since times of early exploration. Crawfishing was done not only by Native Americans, but also early European settlers. Crawfish have since become a staple market in the Louisiana economy providing the United States with almost ninety percent of the domestic market. Louisiana has several species of crawfish. The two species of crawfish that are cultivated most are the red swamp crawfish and the white river crawfish. Most crawfishing takes place in either man made ponds or are caught wild in Louisiana’s many wetland areas. The wild crawfish are typhically bigger and have a vaster area in which they can be fished. The main waterway fished in Louisiana for wild crawfish is the Atchafaylaya Basin. Towards the 1960’s, crawfishermen began “farming” or cultivating crawfish from man-made ponds. Using these techniques allowed fishermen to control water levels and manage the production habitat to produce a healthier more abundant crop. Louisiana has the largest freshwater aquaculture industry in United States. Many people depend on Louisiana’s annual yield of crawfish. The average combined yield from wild crawfish and those cultivated in man-made ponds is around 75 to 105 million pounds. This impacts the Louisiana economy directly averaging 120 million dollars annually.
Nets are a key element in the crawfishing business. Most nets are made of some sort of wire mesh that has been formed into a funnel type shape with open flues on the bottom. There are several other types of crawfish traps but the same principal applies using flues. Many of these nets are homemade. The mesh holes must be smaller than the crawfish, otherwise the crawfish will not remain in the trap. The flues on…...

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