Natural habitat - wetlands and swamps in southern U. S., especially in the Mississippi River drainage. Dry wetland Flooded wetland
Food habits - omnivore; small invertebrates, vegetation, detritus, attached algae Reproduction Sexual maturity - 6 to 8 months Male deposits sperm packet in female Water Temperature - between 70 and 80 0 F, May and June in Alabama Female borrows into wet soil; eggs are laid and hatch in borrow; no larval stages, eggs hatch into tiny crawfish soils containing borrows must hold water well as crawfish and eggs must remain moist Females and young crawfish leave borrows in Fall during flooding
Chimneys protecting crawfish borrows Female with young
Production cycle 1. Ponds drained in late spring to encourage mature crawfish to mate and borrow 2. A forage crop is planted in dry pond, rice is a common choice. Rice can be planted only as a forage ( late planting ) or as a grain crop ( early planting ). 3. Pond is reflooded in the Fall when young crawfish are ready to forage. 4. Young crawfish forage on decaying vegetation and reach a harvestable size by early Spring.
Advantages 1. feeds low on the food chain 2. easy to reproduce and culture 3. easy to transport live, moist and cool environment Disadvantages 1. high expense in harvest ( bait and labor ) 2. U. S. market is regional, some export to Europe 3. low dressout percentage, 18 to 20% of whole animal are tails 4. lower priced imports from China 5. sale price depends on strength of the wild catch
In 1998 Louisiana produced 36.1 million lbs from 109,967 acres worth 22.5 million dollars. 90% of farmed crawfish in the U. S. Louisiana
Trends in U.S. and World Lobster Production, Imports and Exports Joel Chetrick Forest & Fishery Products Division August 2006
Summary World production of lobster increased steadily from 157,000 metric tons (MT) in 1980 to more than 233,000 MT in 1997 before stabilizing at levels near 230,000 MT through 2003 and rising to about 239,000 MT in 2004. Catches of American lobster (Homarus americanus) and spiny lobster (Panulirus spp.) accounted for 67 percent of world lobster production in 2004. Other important species included European lobster (Homarus gammarus) and rock lobster (Jasus spp.). The United States and Canada are the world’s largest lobster producing countries, accounting for 37 percent of global production in 2004. Other major producers included the United Kingdom, Australia, among others.
Summary In the United States, lobsters rank third in terms of commercial landed value for fishery products, trailing only the harvests of shrimp and crabs. American lobster accounted for 94 percent of U.S. lobster production, followed by spiny and slipper lobsters. Maine led all states, with 81 percent of the 40,079 MT of American lobster landed in 2004. Massachusetts and Rhode Island were also important producers of American lobster. Spiny lobster is harvested primarily in Florida and California. World exports and imports of lobster grew steadily over the last decade. World lobster exports rose 87 percent, from $1.2 billion in 1992 to $2.2 billion in 2004, due primarily to increased sales of frozen and fresh/chilled products. Canada was the major exporter of live lobster products with $371 million in 2004, followed by the United States with $300 million. World lobster imports increased 63 percent, from $1.3 billion in 1992 to $2.1 billion in 2004, due mainly to increased demand for frozen and particularly live products in the hotel and restaurant sector. The United States was the major importer of live lobster with $290 million in 2004, followed by Canada with $138 million, and France, Spain and Italy, each with imports exceeding $50 million. The United States remained the largest importer of all lobster products, accounting for $1 billion or nearly 47 percent of global imports, followed by Japan with $178 million.
Summary U.S. lobster exports grew by 245 percent in terms of value during 1992-2005, totaling $345 million in 2005, due to increased sales to Canada and the European Union (EU). Canada remained the largest market, accounting for 48 percent of export sales. Most U.S. exports to Canada are processed and then sent back to the U.S. market for domestic consumption or to be exported to other countries. Sales to the EU, the largest consumption market for U.S. lobster, accounted for 43 percent of the exports. U.S. imports of lobster reached $1.1 billion in 2005, up 119 percent from the 1992 level. Canada accounted for 64 percent of the imports. Lobster is a high-priced commodity with consumer preferences varying from country to country.
World Lobster Production by Country Source: FAO MT
World Lobster Production by Species Source: FAO MT
U.S. Lobster Production by Species Source: NOAA/NMFS MT
World Lobster Exports by Country Source: FAO $Million
World Lobster Exports by Product $Million Source: FAO
World Lobster Imports by Country Source: FAO $Million
World Lobster Imports by Product $Million Source: FAO
Consumer Preferences Worldwide: -Lobster is a high-priced food primarily eaten primarily during holidays and special occasions, such as weddings and family celebrations. -Canadian lobster is smaller than the size the United States is legally allowed to produce and therefore is sometimes favored in markets where lobster is sold by the piece, such as Japan. Japan: - Spiny lobster Europe: -High-priced European lobster is preferred over any other lobster. -Spiny lobster is preferred in Spain. -U.S. lobster competes with the European lobster and Norwegian prawns in EU markets.
U.S. Industry Contacts Maine Lobster Promotion Council Tel. (207) 287-5140/ Fax (207) 287-5143 www.mainelobsterpromo.com Maine International Trade Center Tel. (207) 541-7400/ Fax (207) 541-7420 www.mitc.com Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association Tel. (781) 545-6984/ Fax (781) 545-7837 www.lobstermen.com/default.asp Food Export USA-Northeast Tel. (215) 829-9111/ Fax (215) 829-9777 www.foodexportusa.org