The Louisiana alligator industry is about to take another one in the teeth. In another hit for the industry, global prices for skins, for the second year in a row, have fallen. The Abbeville Meridional reports that the selling price for both wild and farmed alligator skins has dropped 50 percent over the past several years.  

The reason is the global economy, which is still in a slow down. Luxury skin items, such as alligator belts, and lately designer clothing, are one of the first markets to drop during a recession. While design houses can hoard skins, suppliers, such as Wayne Sagrera, who owns and operates Vermilion Gator Farm, south of Abbeville, find themselves in a quandry.

Sagrera both buys wild alligators for processing and raises alligators for the market. He told the Meridional he was only buying wild hides this year from his regular customers, a blow to a 300-year-old cultural tradition in Louisiana. Equally serious from a state economic standpoint is his statement that if the market doesn’t improve within 18 months, he plans to get out of the alligator farming business. “Enough is enough,” he told the Meridional.

Louisiana alligator hunting season opens tomorrow.

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