Oyster Season

General Season Information

Public grounds: LDWF manages approximately 1.7 million acres of public oyster areas in Louisiana. The oyster harvest season for public oyster areas generally runs from the first Wednesday following Labor Day in September through April 30 of the following year. However, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission can open and close the season when biological data indicate a need. Harvesters should review the current status of public oyster areas below for the most current oyster season information. Harvest from the public oyster areas, except those in Calcasieu and Sabine Lakes, must be from a properly licensed and permitted vessel and one that has an operational vessel monitoring system (VMS) in use.

Private leases: The owner of an oyster lease or his duly-authorized agents may fish oysters on the lease at any time of year.

All areas: Taking of oysters is prohibited from one-half hour after sunset until one-half hour before sunrise.  Areas opened by the Commission may periodically be closed by the Department of Health and Hospitals for public health reasons.  Information on DHH closures can be found on the DHH website

Current Status of Public Oyster Areas

 

 

2017-2018 Louisiana Oyster Season

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission set the 2017-2018 oyster season based on the annual oyster stock assessment provided by LDWF biologists and comments received from members of the public, including the oyster industry.

The following dates were set for the upcoming oyster season.  All seasons will open at one half-hour before sunrise:

  • Wednesday, November 1, 2017 – Calcasieu Lake: West Cove only
  • Monday, November 13, 2017 –
    • All Public Oyster Seed Grounds east of the Mississippi River, north of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (DHH Shellfish Harvest Areas 1-4)
    • Bay Long/American Bay sacking-only area
    • Sister Lake
    • Vermilion/East and West Cote Blanche Bay/Atchafalaya Bay Public Oyster Seed Grounds
  • Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - the following areas will close to seed harvest on November 13 but remain open as sacking-only areas:
    • All Public Oyster Seed Grounds east of the Mississippi River, north of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (DHH areas 1-4)
    • Sister Lake.

During the 2017-2018 open oyster season, the following provisions will be in effect:

1. Any vessel from which any person(s) takes or attempts to take oysters from the public oyster seed grounds and reservations described above shall:

a. Be limited to a daily take and possession limit not to exceed 50 sacks of oysters per vessel, except for

1. Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation where the limit shall not exceed 35 sacks per vessel, and

2. West Cove portion of Calcasieu Lake where the limit shall not exceed 7 sacks per person per vessel per day.

A sack of oysters for the purposes of this declaration of emergency shall be defined as the size described in R.S. 56:440. If sacks smaller than the size described in R.S. 56:440 are used, the daily harvest and possession limit shall be based on the number of sacks harvested. The daily take and possession limit will not apply to vessels harvesting seed oysters for bedding purposes. The possession limit will not apply to vessels operating under a valid Oyster Cargo Vessel Permit, and these vessels cannot harvest oysters.

b. Be limited to either harvesting market oysters for direct sale (sacking) or harvesting seed oysters for bedding purposes on any one day and is specifically prohibited from doing both.

2. If any person on a vessel takes or attempts to take oysters from the Public Oyster Seed Grounds, Reservations, or areas described above, all oysters contained on that vessel will be deemed to have been taken from said seed ground, reservation, or area from the time harvest begins until all oysters are offloaded dockside.

3. Prior to leaving Public Seed Grounds or Reservations with oysters harvested from said seed ground or reservation for market purposes: all oysters must be sacked, the number of sacks shall be recorded in a log book, and each sack shall be properly tagged.

4. All vessels located in Public Seed Grounds or Reservations during those times between one half-hour after sunset and one half-hour before sunrise must have all oyster scrapers unshackled.

5. In Calcasieu Lake, oyster scrapers are prohibited on vessels actively harvesting oysters.

The following areas will remain closed for the entire 2017-18 oyster season:

  • The area east of the Mississippi River as described in LAC 76:VII:511, south of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (DHH Shellfish Harvest Areas 5,6,7,8), excluding the American Bay area defined above;
  • The Bay Gardene, Hackberry Bay, and Bay Junop Public Oyster Public Oyster Seed Reservations as described in R.S. 56:434;
  • The Little Lake Public Oyster Seed Grounds as described in LAC 76:VII:521;
  • The Barataria Bay, Deep Lake, Lake Chien, Lake Felicity, Lake Tambour, and Lake Mechant Public Oyster Seed Grounds as described in LAC 76:VII:517;
  • The east side of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area;
  • The Sabine Lake Public Oyster Area as described in R.S. 56:435.1.

Closure dates, adjustments in sack limits and/or sacking-only areas will be determined by LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet on an “as needed” basis, based on biological and harvest data, or if enforcement issues are encountered. The Secretary is also authorized by the Commission to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended and to open public areas if substantial oyster resources are located.

Public notice of any opening, delay, or closure of a season will be provided at least 72 hours prior to such action, unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for public health concerns.

Public Oyster Area

Season Opening (one-half hour before sunrise)

Season Closure (one-half hour after sunset)

Open areas may be closed periodically by the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) for public health concerns

Sack Limits

(Does not apply to vessels harvesting seed oysters)

Primary Public Oyster Seed Grounds east of the Mississippi River and north of the MS River Gulf Outlet (MRGO, LDHH Harvest Areas 1 - 4)

Nov 13, 2017
1-day seed harvest, sacking only after
 

Closed to seed harvest
Closed to seed harvest Nov. 13, 2017

50 sack possession limit, per vessel, per day

Primary Public Oyster Seed Grounds east of the Mississippi River and south of the MS River Gulf Outlet (MRGO, LDHH Harvest Areas 5 - 8)

Closed

Closed

 

 

 

 

 

Bay Gardene Public Oyster Seed Reservation

Closed

Closed

 

Bay Long, American Bay

Nov 13, 2017

SACKING ONLY

  50 sack possession limit, per vessel, per day

Hackberry Bay Public Oyster Seed Reservation

Closed

Closed

 

Little Lake Public Oyster Seed Grounds

Closed

Closed

 

Barataria Bay Public Oyster Seed Grounds

Closed

Closed

 

Lake Chien and Lake Felicity  Public Oyster Seed Grounds

Closed

Closed

 

Deep Lake and Lake Tambour Public Oyster Seed Grounds

Closed

Closed

 

Lake Mechant Public Oyster Seed Grounds

Closed

Closed

 

Sister Lake Public Oyster Seed Reservation

Nov 13, 2017

1 DAY SEED HARVEST

 

SACKING ONLY AFTER

Closed to seed harvest

Nov 13, 2017 

35 sack possession limit, per vessel, per day

Bay Junop Public Oyster Seed Reservation

Closed

Closed

 

Vermilion/East and West Cote Blanche/Atchafalaya Bay Public Oyster Seed  Grounds

November 13, 2017

 

50 sack possession limit per vessel, per day

Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area - East Side

Closed

 

 

Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area - West Cove

November 1, 2017

 

7 sacks per person per vessel per day

Sabine Lake Public Oyster Area

Closed