UPDATE 12/8/2016: The petition has been withdrawn
Original story is below
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are considering a petition that would all but destroy Louisiana’s crawfish industry if it is adopted. A nonprofit called the Center For Invasive Species Prevention wants to ban the commercial trade of the red swamp crawfish, which is native to Louisiana. Apparently, the crawfish has become a nuisance animal in the rest of the country.
Fortunately, U.S. Senator David Vitter is fighting back. He has written to the Feds urging them to reject the petition.
The Center of Invasive Species Prevention recently petitioned the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to add the procambarus clarkii, better known as the red swamp crawfish or Louisiana crawfish, to the injurious wildlife list.
In the petition, the CISP says the red swamp crawfish and 42 other species don’t provide “any essential economic or other benefits” that outweigh their current and potential harm to the United States.
The Fish & Wildlife Service could impose punishment on those who buy, sell or trade red swamp crawfish if the species is added to the list.
U.S. Sen. David Vitter sent a letter to the Fish & Wildlife Service urging the agency to reject the petition.
“Ridiculously,” Vitter wrote in the letter, “the inclusion of the red swamp crawfish on the list of injurious wildlife would result in the arrest and prosecution of thousands of Louisiana business owners.”
The head of CISP, Peter Jenkins, says his goal is not to harm the Louisiana crawfish industry, despite the fact his group is petitioning to add crawfish to the list of commercially banned animals. Jenkins says a public education campaign run by the Federal government could possibly be a better approach.
We actually agree with Jenkins about the need for public education, but we don’t think it’s necessary for the Federal government to do it. Instead, the ordinary people of Louisiana can do this campaign on their own. We would be more than happy to introduce the rest of the country to the art of the crawfish boil. We have many recipes we would be more than willing to share with the rest of the country.
Places like Wisconsin and Minnesota already enjoy drinking beer. All that we in Louisiana propose doing is adding a crawfish boil to their beer drinking.
But if Jenkins’s petition is successful, it would ban the sale of Louisiana crawfish outside of the state. It would deprive Louisiana crawfish dealers of some of their largest markets.
Again, from WWL-TV:
Louisiana’s annual crawfish production has increased from 61.1 million pounds per year to 127.5 million pounds per year over the last 25 years, according to the LSU AgCenter. Once available only regionally, Louisiana crawfish can now be found across the country, with some of the largest markets for mudbugs being Little Rock, Arkansas; Dallas; Houston; Austin, Texas; Mobile, Alabama; Memphis, Tennessee; and Atlanta, according to the AgCenter.
This is another example of Federal overreach that would hurt the state if it is adopted. It would also be an assault on Louisiana culture and our traditions.