Deadly White Spot Syndrome in Louisiana crawfish farms could imperil $300 million industry

The crawfish industry in south Louisiana is growing concerned by a deadly virus that threatens the crop. White spot syndrome virus was first discovered in farmed shrimp in Thailand and China in the early 1990s, but it was not known in Louisiana crawfish until 2007, the LSU AgCenter says. “Symptoms include sluggish crawfish that don’t move much once they are dumped from the trap. They do not pinch hard and most cannot walk,” the AgCenter says. How did the virus get to Louisiana? Here’s what the AgCenter says: “No one can say with any certainty. There are many possibilities. Many countries export both pond-raised and wild shrimp to the United States. A study of imported shrimp indicates occurrence of WSSV may be very high in these products. Here’s the rub –  “Imported frozen shrimp used as bait for coastal fishing is also a hazard. Leftover bait shrimp that is discarded could be picked up by wild shrimp or crabs, thereby creating immediate risks for those populations and spread to others. The same risk to wild crawfish exists when frozen imported shrimp are used for bait in inland waters.  Click here to read the story 11:26