Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two men on July 5 for allegedly taking oysters from an unapproved area near Lake Borgne and the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO).
David Palmer, 29, and Richard Pecot, Jr., 29, both from St. Bernard Parish, were seen dredging for oysters near the MRGO and Lake Borgne located in St. Bernard Parish.
The Department of Health and Hospitals Oyster Water Monitoring Program closed this area of Lake Borgne due to high levels of potentially harmful bacteria. DHH issues maps quarterly to designate open oyster waters and closed oyster areas with high bacteria counts.
Agents seized and returned 15 sacks of oysters to the water and placed two oyster dredges and one boat under seizure order.
If convicted, each person faces penalties of up to $750 in fines, up to 120 days in jail, or both plus court costs. Additionally, whoever violates this subsection is subject to revocation of commercial fishing licenses.
For the first offense, the licenses will be suspended for one year. For the second and subsequent offenses, the 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.
Agents participating in the case were Lt. Stephen McManus, Sgt. Bryan Marie and Senior Agent Kris Bourgeois.
For more information, contact Lt. Col. Keith LaCaze at firstname.lastname@example.org or 225-765-2988.