Release Date: 03/28/2006

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited eight Houma men for allegedly taking oysters from an unapproved area near Cox Bay on March 16.

The Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) Oyster Water Monitoring Program closed this area of Cox Bay due to high levels of potentially harmful bacteria.  DHH issues maps quarterly to designate open and closed oyster areas depending on bacteria counts.

Emiliano A. Carvajal, 41, Bonifacio Duran Samites, 36, Pablo Tenorio Valladarez, 47, Pablo T. Ruiz, 21, Conrado Lara Aguilar, 21, Armando Torres Aguilar, 43, Camilo Aguilar, 22, and Juan M. Negrete, 50 all from Houma, Louisiana were seen dredging for oysters near Cox Bay located in Plaquemines Parish.

The Enforcement Divisions Oyster Strike Force seized and returned 43 sacks of oysters to the water and placed six oyster dredges and three boats under a seizure order.  Agents participating in the case were Lt. Stephen McManus and Sgt. Bryan Marie.

If convicted, each person face penalties of up to $750 in fines, up to 120 days in jail, or both plus court costs.  Additionally, each person is subject to revocation of commercial fishing licenses.

For the first offense the license or licenses will be suspended for one year.  For the second and subsequent offenses the license or licenses will be suspended for three years.  

Furthermore, any person convicted of any violation of the provisions of this subsection will be mandated for one year to harvest oysters from a vessel equipped with a vessel monitoring system that LDWF will have access to monitor.  

EDITORS: For more information, contact Lt. Col. Keith LaCaze at 225-765-2469 or klacaze@wlf.louisiana.gov.