Crawfish outlook 2022: Supply is high, price is good and Hawk's will reopen (2023)

  • By ADAM DAIGLE | Staff Writer

    Adam Daigle

    • Author email

Anthony Arceneaux could have had a banner year last year, just like every other year his Hawk’s Crawfish Restaurant has been open since 1983, but he didn’t.

The restaurant, which closed at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, never opened in 2021. This year, however, he will serve crawfish again at the building nestled deep in the woods of northern Acadia Parish.

One day in mid-February Hawk’s will reopen. He and his wife, Jennifer, have not said when. But they will serve crawfish again.

“When it was time to open (last year), some people were scared,” Arceneaux said. “Some of my employees were scared. We generate such large crowds at night. There’s a line standing out to the road. I’ve got pictures. It was a disaster in the making. I decided to take a step back and not open.”

He’s unsure just how much revenue was lost, but he did not regret the decision. What he is sure of is the 18 regular customers who have died because of COVID. And exposing his 22 employees— many of whom have worked there for years— was not worth the risk.

The new caviar? Louisiana crab up to $50 a pound for restaurants, $70 for grocery shoppers.

Now Hawk’s, which attracts customers from Georgia to Texas and has even been reviewed by the New York Times, will resume operations as south Louisiana gears up for a crawfish season that has many feeling optimistic.

“There’s going to be a lot of crawfish this year,” he said. “A lot of good crawfish. We had a warm growing season all fall, and that helps. Crawfish are going to be bigger this spring than normal. The main thing is it can’t turn too hot too early.”

Demand is as strong as ever, industry insiders say, and warmer-than-expected temperatures in November and December kept local crawfish active, feeding and growing, leading to heightened catches by early January.

A prolonged cold snap in late January dented production, but crawfish insiders still expect a bountiful season, even as inflation issues could pinch the market like any other U.S. industry.

Prices are typically a bit volatile this early in the season. But the preliminary data looks good, said Laney King, co-founder the Crawfish App, which tracks prices across the state.

Crawfish outlook 2022: Supply is high, price is good and Hawk's will reopen (21)

On Thursday, prices for live crawfish in south Louisiana were $3.99 per pound, King said. That figure was derived from an analysis of crawfish businesses in the Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans markets.

King said farmers and vendors have told her they’re still optimistic about production in 2022 despite the frigid temperatures in late January.

“They can already see the growth that the crawfish have had, even if they’re kind of hiding out a little bit in this cold weather right now,” she said.

King acknowledged that prices will be “iffy,” particularly in the earlier months. But Louisiana should see “the best supply that we’ve had in a while” and that inflation pressures could fade away once production ramps up by spring.

Tony Chachere's sushi roll features dirty rice, crab boil: 'It's really, really balanced.'

“I’d love to say they’re going to be super cheap. I don’t know. I’m not 100% confident about that,” she said. “I do know they’re going to be worth the price, hopefully, because of that head start they got (in November and December).”

Darren Pizzolato, manager at Tony’s Seafood in Baton Rouge, agreed.

“We’re getting what we need right now,” he said of his supply. “The size is a little down, but we’re getting what we need.”

Pizzolato noted that, as of Jan. 27, Tony’s was selling live crawfish for $4.49 per pound and boiled crawfish for $5.99 per pound. That’s down from $7.50 earlier in the season.

He’s expecting a “typical, very good crawfish season” once temperatures warm up in February and beyond.

“We’re thinking the price may be a little bit higher than normal in the past just with everything being up,” he said, adding that Tony’s is “pretty much selling what we get. The interest is there.”

Mark Shirley, a crawfish specialist with the LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant, said supply should be strong but prices could be higher than last year because of inflation issues that are plaguing the U.S. economy.

Shirley said bait prices have gone up as much as 30% compared to last year. Labor costs have jumped by $1 to $2 per hour. Fuel for the boats that deliver crawfish has become more expensive.

“We’re still going to see prices higher than last year, even as the season peaks into April, because of all those factors,” he said.

Rising costs have hit farmers hard, said Griffin Dorr with C&J Farms in Acadia Parish. The cost of bait and the cost of sacks have gone up, and there is even a shortage of pogies— the bait many farmers use to catch crawfish— that one Abbeville company said was a result of last year's hurricanes.

The recent cold spell will mean a hike in price, but it should decrease after Valentine’s Day.

“We’re seeing inflation like never before,” Dorr said. “It’s going to be a little rough. This year I’m telling my customers, ‘If you’re going to order with us, I’d order sooner rather than later. That way we can put it on the books and make sure because it’s going to be a little, uh, stressful.’ ”

Despite the market concerns, Shirley pleaded to Louisiana consumers to start their crawfish boils now instead of later in the season so local farmers could reap the economic benefits.

“Don’t wait to eat crawfish until April or May. Don’t wait until Easter. Don’t wait until Mardi Gras,” he said. “Start eating crawfish now. They’re available.”

Robert Stewart and Stephen Marcantel contributed to this report.

Email Adam Daigle at

More information


Cook this: Crawfish King Cake ticks all the Louisiana boxes

Tis the season for crawfish and king cake -- why not combine them?


  • Hardwall

Adam Daigle

  • Author email
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Tuan Roob DDS

Last Updated: 03/04/2023

Views: 5450

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tuan Roob DDS

Birthday: 1999-11-20

Address: Suite 592 642 Pfannerstill Island, South Keila, LA 74970-3076

Phone: +9617721773649

Job: Marketing Producer

Hobby: Skydiving, Flag Football, Knitting, Running, Lego building, Hunting, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Tuan Roob DDS, I am a friendly, good, energetic, faithful, fantastic, gentle, enchanting person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.