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NEWS

Invasive Species Impacting Crops

July 22, 2020

Baton Rouge, La. (July 22, 2020) –  A recent report from the LSU AgCenter regarding the apple snail (Pomacea maculata) sheds light on this foreign invasive species that is now negatively impacting two Louisiana food staples: crawfish and rice.

The apple snail reportedly first appeared in a canal in Gretna, La. in 2006 and quickly infested ponds, bayous and streams in about 30 parishes. According to the LSU AgCenter, the invasive apple snail has impacted crawfish farms in Vermilion, Acadia and Jefferson Davis parishes and has made its first appearance in rice fields. In March, the invasive mollusks reportedly wiped out a 50-acre field of rice, marking the first reported case of the snail damaging the crop in Louisiana.

“It is imperative that each of us works diligently to protect Louisiana from these pests.

Pests often find their way into the ecosystem by people releasing aquatic animals and ornamental plants in areas they should not,” said Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. “I urge everyone to be mindful of the damage that can be done when non-native pests and plants are introduced into the environment. Take the giant salvinia, for example. It is an exotic fern from South America that is fast-growing and has wreaked havoc on lakes and ponds by destroying native plants that provide food for animals and also clogs the waterways.”

The Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) is the lead agency responsible for protecting food and fiber. Multiple agencies including U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the LSU AgCenter work jointly with the LDAF to keep foreign plant pests and diseases out of fields, forests and waterways.

For more information on invasive species, go to the LDAF’s horticulture division at www.ldaf.la.gov or call 225-952-8100.