Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two men for alleged oyster violations in Plaquemines Parish on Sept. 26.
Agents cited Matthew J. Lepetich, 37, of Belle Chasse, and Jose M. Bocanegra, 45, of St. Bernard, for violations of the states oyster sanitation code that are intended for raw consumption. Lepetich was also cited for violations of the vessel monitoring systems for oyster cargo vessels, failing to tag oysters properly and failing to maintain the required records for oyster cargo vessels.
The charges stem from agents stopping Lepetich in Bay Adams in Plaquemines Parish without the required Department of Health and Hospitals log sheet filled out. The log sheet is used to indicate what the intended use was for the oysters.
After further investigation, agents learned that Lepetich was receiving oysters from one of his other vessels that were not refrigerated properly and which were intended for raw consumption. The vessel those oysters were received from had no type of refrigeration on board.
The oysters harvested by Lepetich himself were also not properly tagged by lot ID’s in accordance with Department of Heath and Hospitals regulations for raw consumption oysters.
Lastly, Lepetich did not have the required vessel monitoring system on his vessel as required by oyster cargo vessels.
Agents seized 351 sacks of oysters and returned them to the water.
Violating the states oyster sanitation code for non-refrigerated oysters for raw consumption, failing to maintain required records for oyster vessels and the vessel monitoring system for oyster cargo vessels each brings a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Failing to tag oysters carries a $250 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
Agents participating in the case are Sgt. Adam Young, Senior Agent Joel Cromp, Sgt. Tim Fox, Senior Agent Brett Nabors, Senior Agent Robert Cosse Jr., and Agent Jeff Farmer.
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-765-2465 or firstname.lastname@example.org.