The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has set the 2015/2016 oyster seasons based on the annual oyster stock assessment provided by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and comments received from members of the public, including the oyster industry.
The following opening dates were set for the upcoming oyster season:
- Wednesday, September 9, 2015 – the Little Lake, Barataria Bay, Deep Lake, Lake Tambour, and Vermilion/East and West Cote Blanche/Atchafalaya Bay Public Oyster Seed Grounds will open at one-half hour before sunrise. No harvest of oysters for market sales is allowed on any public oyster area prior to the second Monday in October. Therefore, any and all vessels harvesting on the open public oyster seed grounds between September 9, 2015 and October 11, 2015, both dates inclusive, shall be harvesting seed oysters for bedding purposes only and shall not have sacks or other containers typically used to hold oysters on board the harvest vessel.
- Monday, October 19, 2015 – all remaining public oyster seed grounds and reservations, including Lake Borgne, primary public grounds east of the Mississippi River, Bay Gardene, Hackberry Bay, Sister Lake, Lake Mechant, Lake Chien, Lake Felicity, and the Bay Long/American Bay sacking-only area will open at one-half hour before sunrise.
- Sunday, November 1, 2015 – the oyster season in the west cove portion of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area (DHH Harvest Area 30) will open at one-half hour before sunrise.
During the 2015/2016 open oyster season, the following provisions shall be in effect:
- The take of oysters from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ Shellfish Harvest Area 2 (Mississippi Sound) shall be restricted to harvest for market sales only (sacking-only).
- Any vessel from which any person(s) takes or attempts to take oysters from the public oyster seed grounds and reservations described above shall:
- Be limited to a daily take and possession limit not to exceed 50 sacks of oysters per vessel, except for in the Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation where the limit shall not exceed 40 sacks per vessel, and except for in the West Cove of Calacsieu Lake where the daily limit shall not exceed 7 sacks of oysters and daily trips limited to 1 per person or per vessel per day. A sack of oysters for the purposes of this declaration of emergency shall be defined as the size described in R. S. 56:440. The daily take and possession limit shall not apply to vessels harvesting seed oysters for bedding purposes. The possession limit shall not apply to vessels operating under a valid Oyster Cargo Vessel Permit.
- Be limited to either harvesting market oysters for direct sale (sacking) or harvesting seed oysters for bedding purposes on any one day and is specifically prohibited from doing both on the same day.
- If any person on a vessel takes or attempts to take oysters from the public oyster seed grounds or reservations described above, all oysters contained on that vessel shall be deemed to have been taken from said seed ground or reservation from the time harvest begins until all oysters are off-loaded dockside.
The following areas shall remain closed for the 2015/2016-oyster season:
Bay Junop Public Oyster Seed Reservation
- The east side of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area (LDHH Harvest Area 29)
- Sabine Lake Public Oyster Area
- 2014 cultch plant in Hackberry Bay within in the following coordinates:
Hackberry Bay (2014) – Jefferson Parish
29 degrees 25 minutes 23.58 seconds
90 degrees 01 minutes 21.00 seconds
29 degrees 25 minutes 16.43 seconds
90 degrees 01 minutes 14.59 seconds
29 degrees 25 minutes 07.91 seconds
90 degrees 01 minutes 27.41 seconds
29 degrees 25 minutes 15.33 seconds
90 degrees 01 minutes 33.71 seconds
- 2015 cultch plant in West Cove of Calcasieu Lake within the following coordinates:
Calcasieu Lake – West Cove (2015) – Cameron Parish
29 degrees 52 minutes 39.66 seconds
93 degrees 23 minutes 42.14 seconds
29 degrees 52 minutes 28.94 seconds
93 degrees 23 minutes 42.20 seconds
29 degrees 52 minutes 39.60 seconds
93 degrees 23 minutes 31.92 seconds
29 degrees 52 minutes 29.01 seconds
93 degrees 23 minutes 31.92 seconds
To view maps detailing today’s actions, visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/commerical-oyster-seasons
Closure dates, adjustments in sack limits and/or sacking-only areas will be determined by LDWF Secretary Barham on an “as needed” basis, based on biological and harvest data, or if enforcement issues are encountered. The Secretary is also authorized by the Commission 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 closure of a season will be provided at least 72 hours prior to such action, unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for public health concerns.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.la.gov or www.FishLA.org. To receive recreational or commercial fishing email and text alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.