Culture of crawfish, Procambarus clarkia in Louisiana, USA

The main farmed crawfish species are red swamp crawfish (Procambarus clarkii) or white river crawfish (Procambarus acutus). The essential elements in crawfish farming include traps and baits.

The photo which was taken in a crawfish farm in Louisiana, USA during 1980s show a type of traps which was in use during 1980s.

Trapping: Bait trapping is the only harvesting method of crawfish. Even though there are many styles and sizes of traps that are used in the trapping of crawfish, their efficiency is judged by their trapping capacity of the target size of crawfish. Factors involved include trap shape, mesh size and mesh shape (square or diagonal). In general, about 12-g average size is the minimum marketable size of crawfish.

Baits: Bait, depending on its type and quantity used is the single highest expense in crawfish production. Bits are either natural fish or formulated baits. Traditional bait for traps has been some type of oily fish such as gizzard shad, salmon trimmings or carp. Fish are cut into pieces and dropped daily into the trap. Beef melt and chicken parts have been also used.

Formulated crawfish baits, are commercially produced and often made mainly of cereal grains, supplemental with fish oils, commercial flavoring agents and a binder. These baits are easier to handle and store compared to fish bait.

Harvesting: Crawfish growers may come to each trap daily and dump the crawfish into a holding container. Harvested crawfish is taken to holding facility for further processing. It is assumed and based on the mesh size of the traps; nearly all of the crawfish caught in traps are of marketable size. As shown in the photo, growers may use boats which can operate in shallow waters during the harvesting. Usually, harvested traps are baited during the same visit. The time of harvesting takes into consideration the market demand as well as the environmental factors; no harvesting takes place if pond water is iced or if the cold water temperature inhibits crawfish movement.

Crawfish trap (01) Crawfish harvesting (02)




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