First they came for the mudbugs and I said nothing…actually, yes I did. We all know I always have something to say.

In any case, the latest push for MOAR government comes from Louisiana where a non-profit organization is urging the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to add Louisiana crawfish to the injurious wildlife list.

WWLTV reports:

Louisiana’s crawfish industry could be in trouble if the federal government takes the advice of a nonprofit organization to regulate the red swamp crawfish.

The Center of Invasive Species Prevention recently petitioned the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to add the procambarus clarkii, better known as the red swamp crawfish or Louisiana crawfish, to the injurious wildlife list.

In the petition, the CISP says the red swamp crawfish and 42 other species don’t provide “any essential economic or other benefits” that outweigh their current and potential harm to the United States.

The Fish & Wildlife Service could impose punishment on those who buy, sell or trade red swamp crawfish if the species is added to the list.

…While crawfish are native and welcome in Louisiana, they have become a nuisance to bodies of water across the United States and beyond.

The red swamp crawfish outcompetes native crawfish and rapidly take over habitats where it invades, according to the FWS. This “agricultural pest” alters ecosystems, reducing the population of native creatures while changing water quality and sediment characteristics.

Conservation officials are concerned that red swamp crawfish found in a Minnesota lake could cause damage to levees, dams and water control structures.

Invasive species are in fact a tangible threat — no sense in arguing that. Dealing with non-native threats to ecosystems — also a real concern. The problem here is the push to involved the federal government in criminalizing or limiting the exportation of crawfish.

Louisiana is more than capable of handling this matter on their own, particularly as any restrictions on the mudbug industry would negatively impact countless small fisheries. Louisiana’s crawfish industry contributes more than $172 million to the state economy every year. Needless to say, the federal government’s “help” is not necessary.

“What we’re proposing would have no effect on people in Louisiana using them where they are,” he said. “We want the service to take a look at how to minimize harm in other areas. It may not be feasible to do that, but we want the service to take a look at it.”

But if the proposed changes are adopted, the sale and export of crawfish outside of the state could be limited or prohibited.

Louisiana’s annual crawfish production has increased from 61.1 million pounds per year to 127.5 million pounds per year over the last 25 years, according to the LSU AgCenter. Once available only regionally, Louisiana crawfish can now be found across the country, with some of the largest markets for mudbugs being Little Rock, Arkansas; Dallas; Houston; Austin, Texas; Mobile, Alabama; Memphis, Tennessee; and Atlanta, according to the AgCenter.

Down here in Houston, we look forward to crawfish season any time it’s not crawfish season. I love them in étouffée, my husband prefers them boiled. Crawfish (along with a good fish fry) are part of the shared culture between east Texas and Louisiana. You can find plenty of crawdads here in the Lone Star State, but even our local grocery store, HEB, boasts of selling the freshest Louisiana crawfish. Any export restrictions would create reaching ramifications, not just economically, but culturally.

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) sent a letter to the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asking that he reject the Center of Invasive Species Prevention’s petition:

“Anyone who knows anything about Louisiana is familiar with the importance of crawfish in our culture, cuisine, and state economy, which is why the current petition to shut down Louisiana’s crawfish industry is laughable,” said Vitter. “Any consideration to list the red swamp crawfish as an injurious species should immediately cease so as to not deprive Louisiana farmers of their livelihoods, nor rob Louisiana of one of its most famous and celebrated culinary traditions.”

You get a line I’ll get a pole, honey.

[h/t The Hayride]

[Featured image: Justin Watt [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

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