Alternative Oyster Culture

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.
shucked cage grown oyster in gloved hand
close up of oysters in alternative oyster cage

Learning More

Site & Gear Selection

Risk & Insurance

Handling & Harvest

oyster farmer handling AOC bag in water

Handling Best Management Practices

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

shucked cage grown oyster in gloved hand

Second Round Alternative Oyster Culture Grant Recipients Announced

November 12, 2022

The second round of Alternative Oyster Culture (AOC) grants, totaling $465,000, have been announced. Thirteen grants were awarded to: Ryan Anderson, for a grow-out farm Albert Besson, dba Barataria Beauties Oyster Company, for a grow-out farm Michael “Laine” Fontenot, Gulf of Mexico Tuna Company, for a grow-out farm Khai Dang,…

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fishing boats

LDWF Announces Commercial Fishing License Sale Locations and Dates

October 31, 2022

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries will offer new or renewal commercial fishing licenses and boat registration transactions at the following locations: New Orleans Office 2045 Lakeshore Drive Suite 438 New Orleans Nov. 29 – Dec. 1 8am – 3:30pm Lake Charles Office **NEW LOCATION** 1025 Tom Watson Rd….

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