At its August monthly meeting, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission set the 2019-20 oyster season 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 dates were set for the upcoming oyster season:
- The Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area will open solely for sacking of market size oysters one half-hour before sunrise on Friday, November 1, 2019.
- The Sister Lake Oyster Seed Reservation will open for bedding purposes only one half-hour before sunrise on Monday, November 18, 2019, and will close one half-hour after sunset that same day.
- The Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation will open for sacking of market size oysters only one half-hour before sunrise on Tuesday, November 19, 2019.
During the 2019-20 oyster season, the following provisions will be in effect:
- Any vessel from which any person(s) takes or attempts to take oysters from the public oyster seed grounds and reservations described above will be limited to a daily take not to exceed 25 sacks of oysters per vessel, except for Calcasieu Lake, where the daily and possession limits are not to exceed 10 sacks of oysters per vessel. A sack of oysters for purposes of this Declaration of Emergency is 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 will be based on the number of sacks used, not the size of the sack or other measures. The daily take and possession limit does not apply to vessels harvesting seed oysters for bedding purposes. The possession limit does not apply to vessels operating under a valid Oyster Cargo Vessel Permit and these vessels are not allowed to harvest oysters.
- All vessels harvesting on the open public oyster seed grounds on Monday, November 18, 2019, can only harvest seed oysters for bedding purposes and must not have sacks or other containers typically used to hold oysters on board the vessel.
- A vessel is 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.
- If any person on a vessel takes or attempts to take oysters from the public oyster areas, seed grounds or reservations 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.
- The harvest of seed oysters from a public oyster seed ground or reservation is for the purpose of moving the live oyster resource. The removal of more than 15 percent of non-living reef material in bedding loads is prohibited. All vessels must allow on-board inspection and sampling of seed oyster loads by LDWF biologists and/or agents.
- 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 (including Calcasieu Lake), seed ground or reservation must be sacked, the number of sacks recorded in a log book, and each sack 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.
- The use of oyster scrapers is prohibited in Calcasieu Lake.
The following areas will remain closed for the entire 2019-20 oyster season:
- The public oyster seed grounds and reservations, as described in Louisiana Administrative Code (LAC) 76:VII.507, LAC 76:VII.509, LAC 76:VII.511 and LAC 76:VII.516, including all areas east of Mississippi River, the Vermilion/East and West Cote Blanche Bay/Atchafalaya Bay Public Oyster Seed Grounds.
- Lake Tambour, Lake Chien, Lake Felicity, Deep Lake and Barataria Bay Public Oyster Seed Grounds as described in LAC 76:VII:517.
- The Little Lake Public Oyster Seed Grounds as described in LAC 76:VII.521.
- Hackberry Bay, Bay Junop Public Oyster Seed Reservations and Lake Mechant Public Oyster Seed Ground as described in R.S. 56:434.
- The Sabine Lake Public Oyster Area as described in R.S. 56:435.1.
- The cultch plant located on the east side of Calcasieu Lake near Long Point (2017)- Cameron Parish within the following coordinates:
- 29 degrees 55 minutes 03.45 seconds N
93 degrees 19 minutes 20.26 seconds W
29 degrees 54 minutes 55.75 seconds N
93 degrees 19 minutes 01.32 seconds W
- 29 degrees 54 minutes 14.64 seconds N
93 degrees 19 minutes 22.67 seconds W
- 29 degrees 54 minutes 21.22 seconds N
93 degrees 19 minutes 40.43 seconds W
- 29 degrees 54 minutes 31.41 seconds N
93 degrees 19 minutes 12.81 seconds W
- 29 degrees 54 minutes 45.84 seconds N
93 degrees 19 minutes 27.64 seconds W
- 29 degrees 55 minutes 03.45 seconds N
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 such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health for public concerns.
For 2019-20 oyster season maps, click here.
For more information, contact Carolina Bourque at [email protected] or 337-735-8726.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana’s abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us atwww.wlf.la.gov. To receive email alerts, signup at http://www.wlf.la.gov/signup.