The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will reopen the oyster season in designated portions of the Public Oyster Seed Reservation in Sister Lake to allow harvest for sacking only (larger than 3 inches). Harvest monitoring by LDWF through its daily reporting requirement has indicated oyster resource is still available in Sister Lake. This reopening will allow for continued harvest of the resource available on these reefs. The following dates were set for the reopening of the oyster season:
- The Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation will reopen for sacking only of market-size oysters one-half hour before sunrise on Monday, March 04, 2024, and close at one-half hour after sunset on Sunday, March 10, 2024.
During the 2023-24 oyster season, the following provisions will be in effect:
- Every vessel harvesting oysters from the Public Oyster Areas for oyster resource shall report harvest information to the LDWF before 9 p.m. each day fished. Vessels shall provide the following information: Captain’s name, oyster harvester number, vessel number, the total number of sacks harvested that day, total barrels of seed removed, and the LDH Harvest area fished. Electronic Reporting will be done through the e-Reporting application via smart phone. The eReporting app is supported by both iOS and Android. Fishermen will need to download the app from these links at the Apple Store or Google Play Store then create an account using an email. The registration page requires name, commercial fishing license number and type of license to register. Once the account is created, the fisherman will add their vessels. Follow this link for more information on the eReporting app and how to use it: https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/oyster-e-reporting. The call option is still available to submit harvest reports at 1-800-442-2511. This reporting does not substitute for trip ticket reporting.
- Any vessel from which any person(s) takes or attempts to take oysters from the public oyster seed reservations described above shall be limited to a daily take not to exceed 30 whole sacks of oysters per vessel. A sack of oysters for the purposes of this Declaration of Emergency shall be defined as the size described in R.S. 56:440. If sacks smaller than the size described in R.S. 56:440 are used, the daily harvest and possession limit shall be based on the number of sacks used, not the size of the sack or other measures.
- This opening is limited to harvesting only market oysters for direct sale (sacking).
- If any person on a vessel takes or attempts to take oysters from the public oyster reservation described above, all oysters contained on that vessel will be deemed to have been taken from said seed ground or reservation from the time harvest begins until all oysters are off-loaded dockside.
- All oysters harvested from public areas, seed grounds or reservations for the purpose of market must be uncontaminated, sealed and not gaping.
- All oysters harvested from public areas, seed grounds or reservations for the purpose of market sales must measure a minimum of 3 inches from hinge to bill.
- Market oysters harvested from any public oyster area, seed ground or reservation must be sacked, the number of sacks must be recorded in a log book, and each sack must be properly tagged prior to leaving said public oyster area, seed ground, or reservation.
- All vessels located in public oyster areas, seed grounds or reservations during those times between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise must have all oyster scrapers unshackled.
- Taking oysters from the public oyster seed grounds or reservations without an oyster seed ground vessel permit shall be a class two violation subject to the penalties provided in RS 56:32 and to the requirements of RS 56:424.1.
The Secretary of the Department was authorized by the Commission to set closure dates and adjust sack limits and/or sacking-only areas based on biological harvest data or if enforcement issues are encountered. The Secretary is also authorized to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended and to open public areas if substantial oyster resources are located.
Public notice of any opening, delay or closing of a season will be provided at least 72 hours prior to such action, unless the Louisiana Department of Health orders such closure for public concerns.
For 2023-2024 oyster season maps, click here.
For more information, contact Robert Caballero at [email protected]