Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited two men for alleged oyster violations on July 18 in St. Bernard Parish.
Agents cited John P. Wust, 20, of St. Bernard, and Joshua Stigler, 24, of Violet, for taking oysters from a polluted area, unlawfully taking oysters off a private lease and failing to have written permission. Agents also cited Wust for a log book violation.
Agents responding to complaints about fisherman taking oysters in polluted areas in several locations around St. Bernard Parish observed a vessel operated by Wust and Stigler actively dredging for oysters in a polluted area. After furthur investigation, agents identified several other oyster related violations and issued the appropriate citations.
Agents seized one sack of oysters and retuned them to the water. Agents seized the dredge used in the illegal taking of the oysters. Agents also seized the vessel used in the illegal activity on a department seizure order.
Taking oysters off a private lease and taking oysters from an unnaproved/polluted area each carries a $900 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail for each offense. Taking oysters without written permission carries a $400 to $950 fine and up to 120 days in jail. Violating a sanitation code for the log book on a vessel carries a $25 fine and up to 10 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 Sgt. Jason Gernados and Agent Blaine Wagner.