Three Men Cited For Oyster Violations in St. Bernard Parish

Published 7:23 am Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited three men for alleged oyster violations in St. Bernard Parish on Jan. 30.

Agents cited Michael K. Shaw, 52, Olvera Terrazas Javier, 36, of San Leon, Texas, and Luis Archaga, 28, of Chalmette, for taking oysters during illegal hours.  The Captain of the vessel, Shaw, was also cited for two counts of violating the state’s health code for oysters for not having his Department of Health logbook completed and no waste receptacle on board the vessel, as well as improper running lights, and failing to comply with personal flotation device requirements.

Agents were responding to complaints from local lease holders of illegal hour oyster dredging activity in Bay Eloi.  Agents documented the vessel in heavy fog dredging for oysters at 5:46 am with no navigation lights on.

When agents stopped the vessel they found 10 mini sacks of oysters without the required Department of Health logbook declaring what the oysters were being used for and no waste receptacle on board for human waste.

The taking of oysters from the natural reefs of this state and from privately owned bedding grounds between the hours of one-half hour after sunset and until one-half hour before sunrise is prohibited. During these hours all scrapers shall be unshackled, disconnected, or in such condition as to be easily determined by an LDWF agent not to have been in recent use.  The subjects were dredging 40 minutes before legal harvest was allowed when stopped.

Dredging oysters during illegal hours carries up to a $950 fine and 120 days in jail.  Violation of the state’s health code carries a $25 fine for each count and loss of the product.  Improper running lights and failing to comply with PFD requirements brings up to a $50 fine for each offense.

Agents physically seized two dredged and returned the oysters to the water.

The case will be forwarded to District Attorney Perry Nicosia for prosecution.  Case agents are Corporal Blaine Wagner and Agent Heather Fitzgerald.