The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission set the 2020-2021 oyster season based on the annual oyster stock assessment provided by the 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, October 30, 2020 (Closed on Saturdays and Sundays).
- The Hackberry Bay and Bay Junop Oyster Seed Reservation will open for bedding purposes only one half-hour before sunrise on Monday, November 16, 2020, and will close one half-hour after sunset that same day.
- The Hackberry Bay and Bay Junop Public Oyster Seed Reservation will open for sacking of market size oysters only one half-hour before sunrise on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, and will close at one-half hour after sunset on Monday, November 23, 2020 (Closed on Saturdays and Sundays).
During the 2020-21 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 shall 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 on the West Cove shall not exceed 15 sacks of oysters per vessel, and 10 sacks of oysters per vessel on the East side of Calcasieu Lake. 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. 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, and these vessels shall not harvest oysters.
- All vessels harvesting on the open public oyster seed grounds on Monday, November 16, 2020 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.
- 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.
- Harvesting in the public oyster areas will only be allowed Monday through Friday. No harvest from public oyster areas, seed grounds, or reservations shall be allowed on Saturdays and Sundays.
- The use of oyster scrapers is prohibited in Calcasieu Lake. Oyster harvesting shall be limited to using hand tongs on vessels harvesting oysters, or collected by hand. Oyster tongs shall be made as a grasping device consisting of two pieces joined by a pivot or hinged like scissors used for picking up objects.
The following areas will remain closed for the entire 2020-21 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.
- Sister Lake 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 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.
|Area / Public Ground||Season||Limit|
|East of MS River, North of MRGO||No Season|
|East of MS River, South of MRGO||No Season|
|Hackberry Bay and Bay Junop- Bedding||Open November 16, 2020 (One day only)||No more than 15% of non-living material allowed in bedding loads.|
|Hackberry Bay and Bay Junop- Sacking*||Open November 17, 2020 (Closes November 23, 2020)*||25 sacks/vessel/day
(take and possession)
|Lake Tambour, Lake Chien, Lake Felicity, Deep Lake, Lake Mechant, Barataria, Little Lake||No Season|
|Sister Lake||No Season|
|Vermilion/Atchafalaya Basin||No Season|
|Calcasieu Lake (East side and West Cove)*||Open October 30, 2020*||East Side: 10 and
West Cove: 15 sacks/vessel/day
(take and possession)
No scrapers: Tong or hand only
|*no fishing on Saturdays and Sundays|
For additional informationa and maps of the 2020-2021 oyster season, 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. LDWF receives no state general funding and depends on license sales as a major funding source. Help us protect your hunting and fishing heritage while preserving habitat, wildlife, and aquatic resources by purchasing your license at www.wlf.la.gov. To receive email or text alerts signup here.