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Winter storm slows down crawfish harvest in Southeast Texas

Now, crawfish farmers are working hard to make up ground. The sunshine and warmer temperatures should help.

NOME, Texas — In Southeast Texas, the winter weather left crawfish in the cold as fields froze and the mudbugs slowed down.

Now, crawfish farmers are working hard to make up ground. The sunshine and warmer temperatures should help.

Everyone's looking for mudbugs, but they could be hard to find, and the winter storm and extreme temperatures last week didn't help crawfish farmers.

Freezing temperatures are tough for most people to function in, and Gene Broussard, who owns Broussard Crawfish Farm in Nome says crawfish are no different.

"As the temperature drops, they just don't seem to move that good to the bait," Broussard said.

Last week's frigid weather iced over parts of Broussard Crawfish Farm. Those freezing temperatures made it tough to get the job done.

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"Labor wise, you can't send them out there in that freezing weather because your hands are getting soaking wet,” Broussard said. “Your throwing dead crawfish out or a piece of bait that didn't get eaten, and it's just hard on your help."

Broussard said he's had to raise the price per pound for crawfish to $4.50 due to the lower supply early on this season, which started around Super Bowl Sunday.

"Here, early in the year, the catch is so slow. All the farmers right here in this area couldn't supply what Houston wanted," Broussard said.

Warmer temperatures this week have helped get the crawfish moving again, and Broussard expects they'll be caught up soon to meet the demand.

"It's early in the year, but your catch can double overnight. With this sun coming out and stuff, you can go from catching 50 pounds to 100 real quick," Broussard said.

Broussard said he and other local crawfish farmers work together to make sure no one is falling behind.

"A lot of times if we take a big order, we may get with another local farmer here, and he may furnish a 1,000 or 1,500 pounds. Another guy might furnish 750, but we can make it work and we kind of swap out at the end of the year make sure everybody's even," Broussard said.

Broussard said he was still getting calls last week during the freezing weather, and he expects the demand for crawfish to go way up around Easter.

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