An invasive species of snail has forced a farmer near Rayne to shut down his crawfish harvest.
According to the LSU AgCenter, the pest, called the apple snail, clogs crawfish trap openings and makes harvesting difficult.
LSU AgCenter rice specialist Dustin Harrell says the Acadia Parish farmer was collecting six to 12 crates of snails each day. According to a news release, Harrell said it's suspected the snails entered the field when it was flooded with water from a bayou that flows into the Mermentau River.
Mark Shirley, AgCenter fisheries agent, said the snails have been found in Bayou Vermillion for the past two or three years.
"We've been seeing more and more of them in the past few years," he said.
Jacoby Carter, a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Lafayette who has also been studying the snails, said the mollusks can be controlled with a pesticide, but it's possible the compound would also kill the crawfish.
Because they are an invasive species, it is illegal to collect, sell, or transport them.