Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited four men for alleged oyster violations on June 22 in Lafourche Parish.
Agents cited Ernesto Frederick-Valentin, 45, Carlos Treminio, 31, Marshal Palacios, 35, all of New Orleans, and Casey Billiot, 24, of Houma, for unlawfully taking oysters off a private lease and from an unapproved area. Agents also cited the Frederick-Valentin for not possessing a commercial gear license for the dredge at the time of the stop.
Agents received an anonymous tip about four people taking oysters off of a private lease without permission in Bay Marlene. Upon arriving on the scene agents discovered the area was also located inside a polluted area for taking oysters. Agents then made contact with the four subjects and found them actively dredging for oysters in the area.
Agents seized nine sacks of oysters and returned them to the water. They also seized the vessel and dredge on a department seizure order.
Taking oysters off a private lease and taking oysters from an unapproved area each carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense. Taking commercial fish without a commercial gear license carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
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 involved in the case are Senior Agent Dean Aucoin and Senior Agent Michael Williams.