Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement agents arrested three men for alleged oyster and boating safety violations today, Aug. 9 in St. Bernard Parish.
Agents arrested Tyler Campo, 24, of St. Bernard, Brian Cocchiara, 24, of Chalmette, and Nathan Molinary, 20, of Violet, for taking oysters during illegal hours and unlawfully taking oysters from state water bottoms. Agents also cited Campo for failing to comply with personal flotation device (PFD) requirements, possess a fire extinguisher, have proper navigation lights, possess commercial licenses, for not filling out the Department of Health and Hospitals log book as it pertains to oysters, and not having the required vessel sanitation requirements fulfilled.
Agents made contact with a vessel being operated by Campo around 5 a.m. when they spotted the vessel being operated with no running lights and actively dredging for oysters one hour before legal harvest could begin. During the stop agents learned about the health code and boating safety violations and that Campo was dredging in an area he was not allowed.
Unlawfully harvesting oysters during illegal hours and unlawfully taking oysters from unleased state water bottoms carries a $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Violating the health code requirements carries a $25 fine and up to 10 days in jail for each offense. Each of the boating safety violations carries a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail.
Agents booked the three men into the St. Bernard Parish Jail. Agents also returned one sack of oysters to the water, seized one oyster dredge and a forfeiture order was placed on Campo’s vessel until disposition of case in court.
The men could also have their oyster harvester licenses revoked by the department for up to one year. The violators could also be sentenced to perform 40 hours of community service and only be allowed to harvest oysters from a vessel with a vessel monitoring device for up to one year.
Agents participating in the case are Lt. Adam Young and Sgt. Jason Gernados.