An invasive species of snail is posing a threat to bayou crawfish harvests, after recently shutting down a 220 acre farm. The apple snail is indigenous to South America, and can devour vegetation crucial to the development of Louisiana crawfish.
LSU Ag Center Agent Mark Shirley says so far, the state doesn’t have a good solution to the problem.
“It looks like a growing problem and we really have no idea how to control it yet.”
The invasion is being blamed on aquarium owners who decided to dump the snails into the water way.
Shirley says at the moment, there’s only one thing farmers can do.
“All we can tell crawfish producers now is to try to use screens and prevent the larger snails from getting in.”
The snails can survive drought, host a poisonous parasite, and lay eggs filled with toxins. Shirley says the resilient and slimy snails can rapidly infect a large area.
“They multiply really fast because they don’t have any predators. When the snails get to a golf ball size, they don’t have any predators to eat them.”