Alternative Oyster Culture

Louisiana Alternative Oyster Culture (AOC) Industry

AOC is when oysters are grown in floating cages or in bottom-placed cages attached to pylons. This method allows the cages to be raised and lowered to protect oysters from predators, fouling and the burial effects of disasters like hurricanes. Louisiana Sea Grant has operated an AOC demonstration farm on Grand Isle for more than a decade and began researching alternative oyster culture in the late 1980s.

As estuarine habitat and environmental conditions continue to change through natural and human influences, there is a need to offer and expand economic opportunities for oyster fishers—and AOC helps to fulfill that need. To that end, Louisiana Fisheries Forward, in conjunction with the Louisiana Seafood Future grant program, is putting together a wide variety of resources like education and business tools, equipment and public outreach, to expand and enhance AOC across the coast.

We encourage all our oystermen to get involved in the management of our fishery. Join the Oyster Task Force, or attend their open meetings; sign up for news and alerts from LDWF, LA Sea Grant and other agencies; and attend LFF and other industry workshops. Your input is needed for us all to be successful.

As we continue to add information to this web site, visit the resource links below for more on regulations, product handling, gear and equipment, and responsible farming practices.

To apply for an AOC permit, you must have a commercial oyster harvester license. And before applying for an oyster harvester license, you must complete online oyster harvester training, which will include this video (use the link, you will not get credit watching it here). Oyster harvesters must take this training every three years.

cages for alternative oyster culture on pier with longlines in water behind
Raw oysters in wooden crate

There are complex environmental, economic, and political issues confronting today’s traditional oyster industry. AOC is a part of addressing those issues, but certainly not the sole or primary solution.

Louisiana’s traditional oyster production can average from 12-14 million pounds of oyster meat annually, producing anywhere from 30-40 percent of the United States’ supply. AOC cannot replace this traditional natural fishery in volume or economic impact; but it is an opportunity to help increase the potential for industry diversity.

Latest Oyster News

photo of three oyster boats in Gulf waters

90-Day Public Comment Period for Phase 0 Oyster Lease Applications Ends May 4

April 27, 2021

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will conclude a 90-day public comment period for Phase 0 oyster lease applications on Tuesday, May 4. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission established the public comment period to bring transparency to the leasing process and provide coastal landowners with an opportunity…

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tanks for oyster larvae at Sea Grant hatchery in Grand Isle

Severe Weather Halts Production at the Michael C. Voisin Oyster Hatchery

April 16, 2021

The Michael C. Voisin Oyster Hatchery sustained some minor damage due to the severe weather that moved through the Grand Isle area on Tuesday, April 13th.  Oyster larvae production at the hatchery will be delayed until repairs can be made and utility services restored.  The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and…

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