Virus found in crawfish can't hurt you but could hurt the industry

Crowley, LA(KLFY)- Crawfish season is coming to an end but some farmers are saying that it's not because of the virus the white spot syndrome.

Crawfish season begins around December and ends late June.

White spot syndrome is a virus that effects crawfish.

This disease is transmitted within the crustacean family.

Experts say it originated from shrimp in China and Thailand around the 1990s and made its way to the Bayou State.

"I think whats going on right now is that the drop in catch is due to the weather and the fact it's towards the end of the season," says Mikey Stutes a manager at Acadia Crawfish in Crowley.

"We notice this every year, so to say that its white spot, I don't think that's the case."

White spot syndrome was first noticed in Louisiana in 2007

Since then, traces have been picked up in local crawfish ponds.

A meeting was held earlier in the week with the LSUag center and crawfish farmers to bring awareness to the disease.

Jeremy Herbet with the LSUag Center of Acadia Parish says bigger crawfish exhibit the symptoms the most. "The smaller crawfish probably have it they just don't show the symptoms."

Crawfish will not show visible signs of white spots on their shells, but a noticeable change in their behavior is a clear indication that the crawfish is infected.

"Whenever you pull up the crawfish traps you might notice some of the larger crawfish are dead, and if they're not dead, they're really sluggish and very uncoordinated," says Hebert.

Experts say eating infected crawfish will not hurt people.

But losing too many crawfish to the disease could ultimately hurt the industry.

Hebert suggests that farmers should make sure that they're getting good healthy stock when they are restocking their ponds.

He also suggests cleaning boats that go from one pond to another. Hebert also says washing traps letting them dry out for a week is also a preventative measure.

Hebert says that farmers can see if their crawfish ponds are infected by send 20-30 live crawfish to the LSU vet center in Baton Rouge for a test fee of $35.

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