Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission Approves Oyster Lease Relocation Program

Release Date: 01/06/2011

Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved the Oyster Lease Relocation Program for select oyster leases that have been non-renewed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) since 1998.  This new program will move 19 oyster leases, comprising 700 water-bottom acres to a relocation area of approximately 1,483 acres east of the Mississippi in the open waters of Breton Sound.

Under existing LDWF policy, oyster leases that lie completely within the public oyster seed grounds are not renewable following the expiration of the original 15-year lease term. The Oyster Lease Relocation Program offers the 19 identified leaseholders who are subject to this non-renewal policy, an opportunity to obtain a replacement lease of equal size in a new area.

The relocation area was determined jointly by LDWF and the Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration, in consultation with the Louisiana Oyster Task Force. Prior to being chosen, the relocation area received extensive investigation to determine its appropriateness in terms of suitable water bottom, firmness, salinity regime, and conflicts with existing oil and gas infrastructure (pipelines, wells, etc.).
    
Following a public comment period, the Commission will consider ratifying a final rule for the Oyster Lease Relocation Program at its May meeting.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is charged with managing and protecting Louisiana's abundant natural resources. For more information, visit us at www.wlf.louisiana.gov on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ldwffb or follow us on Twitter @LDWF.

For more information, please contact Laura Deslatte at (225) 610-2363 (ldeslatte@wlf.la.gov).