Crawfish are freshwater crustaceans. Louisiana has more than 30 different species of crawfish, but only two species are commercially important to the industry; the red swamp crawfish (Procambarus clarkia)and the white river crawfish (Procambarus zonangulus).
In the 1960's, crawfish farming made its debut with the cultivation of crawfish in man-made ponds, using controlled water levels, forage management and water recalculation techniques to produce a highly marketable product. During the next 35 years, crawfish farming developed into the largest freshwater crustacean aquaculture industry in the United States.
Louisiana leads the nation, producing more than 90% of the domestic crop. More than 1,600 farmers produce crawfish in some 111,000 acres of ponds. More than 800 commercial fisherman harvest crawfish from natural wetlands, primarily the Atchafalaya Basin. The combined annual yield ranges from 75 million to 105 million pounds. The total economic impact on the Louisiana economy exceeds $120 million annually.