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I don't know about you, but I am hyped for crawfish season.  Last year was the first time since the pandemic that we had Mudbug Madness in downtown Shreveport, and it was a welcome sight.  That's because the only thing better than tearing into a couple of pounds of crawfish with a couple of cold ones is doing it with a couple of buddies. Louisiana officials say that this year may just be the best one ever for crawfish, but there is also a distinct possibility it could be ruined by a new threat.

LSU experts say that this year may be one of the best years in recent memory in terms of perfect conditions for booming crawfish populations.  According to a report from the Magnolia Reporter, above-average temperatures for November and December means that all of the craw-daddies and craw-mommies started the party earlier than usual this season - and the result could be a much higher number of craw-babies soon.  Aquaculture agent for the LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant Mark Shirley says:

When the water temperature is jumping between 60 and 70 degrees, that’s optimum for crawfish growth

Now for the bad news: A new virus infecting crawfish populations is on the rise, and it could jeopardize all of our boil-party plans.  The deadly "White Spot" virus has been detected in numerous colonies across the state, and experts are scratching their heads for answers.  Officials with the LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant have launched a research project to learn more about the disease, most especially how it's spreading.  At this point, researchers don't know if it is being passed by birds, insects, or the water itself.  What is known about the illness, and that it kills off the larger crawfish first and that can decimate a catch in as little as 2-3 days.

With a bumper crop of mudbugs on the horizon, an outbreak of this virus (which only infects crustaceans) could spell disaster.

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