The Wall Street Journal is famous for bringing the business news of the day. Now, we typically think of that as being financial stuff like stocks and bonds. The journal though covers business in general and there is a certain business that is much bigger than you might think that is under a world wide threat from thieves. The journal calls it crayfish, I but in Louisiana, which is the largest producer of the crustacean in the nation, they say crawfish. When we say production, we don’t mean they run around and hunt the little critters down but instead there are giant farms, and there is a difference between wild crawfish and farm raised crawfish. In the 2007-2008 season, 1300 crawfish farms in Louisiana produced 109 million pounds of mudbugs with 280 licensed crawfisherman brought in just 1.3 million pounds of crawfish. In 2007, wild and farm raised catfish in Louisiana produced some $94 million in revenue. Whether farmer or fishermen, the little guys generally only net about a dollar a pound so you need to have a lot to make any money.
But, its not just Louisiana. There are crawfish farming operations in many other places and they all have a common problem. Whether it be the bayous of Louisiana, farms in California or down under in Australia, crawfish poaching is becoming a big problem. The Louisiana legislature passed laws that make it a felony with jail time of up to 10 years for nabbing someone elses crawfish. The story in the Wall Street Journal illustrates a situation in which an armed guard fired his weapon at people who were just wandering by a crawfish farm and were simply suspected of being poachers. In Australia, they are investigating the infiltration of organized crime into the business of stealing your everyday crawfish as well as a certain variety that grows to giant proportions and is known as a yabby. The Tasmanian Giant Freshwater Crawfish can be as large as 3 feet!
Shellfish stealing has long been a problem since the crop might sit in a trap for an extended period, making it an easy target for theives. Lobster fisherman in Maine have long been armed, dangerous and PO’d at would be thieves. One guy in San Diego got convicted of smuggling Lobsters in his pants. OUCH! But in the shellfish world, crawfish have been overlooked but not any more. With global seafood prices on the rise, crawfish have been seen as an alternative and their value is also increasing. So, if you come upon a friendly crawfish, better leave him alone, he may be protected by a gentleman with a very large gun who won’t be afraid to use it.
Invest 92L is an area of low pressure that has been interacting with an upper low east-northeast of the Leeward Islands. Typically, an upper low may create an interesting area of clouds and storms on the satellite for an untrained eye. But, upper lows are no good for tropical development. In this case, the upper low is expected to either fall apart or move along, leaving behind the robust surface tropical wave. The NHC expects that to happen and put the system in an area that is conducive for development. They have put a high probability of that happening. If it becomes a named storm, it would be Danny. The general consensus with the modeling data is that the ridge of high pressure in the Atlantic that backed off and allowed Hurricane Bill to turn north into the Atlantic will not build a whole lot back west. And there is another oddball trof that is progged to dig through the Ohio Valley toward the Gulf Coast. That will pick up the storm and turn it north. But, there is an inconsistency of the route. The Canadian model insists on creating a hurricane and sending into North Carolina and up the East Coast. Other models do not develop the storm much beyond a depression, but that may be due to initiation issues than anything else. Several models have it running a route closer to the US coast but similar to Bill while others have it hug the northeast coast. My guess is that this will probably develop to some degree and probably affect the US coast.
Weather Bottom Line: We still benefit from the previous front and trof with cool nights and warm, but relatively dry afternoons. By the end of the week, rain chances may increase with the approach of the aforementioned frontal system but I suspect that moisture will be so limited that substantial rain will be difficult.