The crawfish industry in south Louisiana is growing concerned by a deadly virus that threatens the crop. White spot syndrome virus was first discovered in farmed shrimp in Thailand and China in the early 1990s, but it was not known in Louisiana crawfish until 2007, the LSU AgCenter says.
"Symptoms include sluggish crawfish that don't move much once they are dumped from the trap. They do not pinch hard and most cannot walk," the AgCenter says.
Ian Garbino, a 34-year crawfish farmer in Jennings, said the virus strikes suddenly. "The catch was increasing and increasing and then it dropped 70 percent, and that's when you saw the dead crawfish floating in the water," Garbarino told KSLA television in a report that aired Tuesday (May 23).
The virus affects only crustaceans, killing them before they get to market. While it won't sicken human beings, it might imperil the $300 million industry.
Louisiana is home to more than 1,600 farmers producing crawfish in about 111,000 acres of ponds, according to the state Crawfish Promotion and Research Board. More than 800 fishers harvest