Louisiana Alternative Oyster Culture (AOC)
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.
Handling & Harvest
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.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved a Notice of Intent (NOI) to update the Domesticated Aquatic Organism (DAO) approved species list by adding Eastern Oyster and Brown Trout. In addition to adding these two species, the NOI proposes creating the Molluscan Shellfish permit and the Coldwater Trout permit. This…
The second round of Alternative Oyster Culture (AOC) grant applications will open May 6, 2022; the closing deadline for grow-out and nurseries is June 9 and for parks and hatcheries July 7. Applications can be found at www.laseafoodfuture.com/aoc, as well as a press release announcing the applicants selected in the first…
Beginning at 8 a.m. April 19, 2022, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will be opening its online ordering portal to provide the oyster industry with hatchery-reared oyster larvae produced at the Michael C. Voisin Oyster Hatchery. Requests will only be taken via the online ordering portal and…