Recreational Oystering


The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission designates which public oyster areas are open for fishing by opening or closing the season as biological data indicate. The owner of an oyster lease or his designee, with written permission, may fish oysters at any time of year on their lease. NOTE: Areas opened by the Commission may, however, be closed by the Department of Health and Hospitals for public health reasons. Information on closed areas is available from the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries or from the Department of Health and Hospitals.

Size/Possession Limits

All oysters taken from public oyster areas must be three inches or greater in length from hinge to mouth. A lessee of private oyster areas may be permitted to take undersized oysters from public areas for bedding purposes only. Size restrictions do not apply to oysters taken from a private lease.

Recreational oyster fishermen may harvest oysters only with the written permission of the lease holder or in public oyster areas open for the harvesting of oysters. Recreational oyster harvesters are limited to two sacks per person per day for personal consumption. Recreational oyster fishermen are also required to possess a basic and saltwater fishing license in addition to a gear license for recreational gear used.

Methods of Taking

Recreational oyster harvest for home consumption is limited to tonging or gathering by hand. A recreational tonging license is required for each tong in use and a recreational basic and recreational fishing license is required for persons 16 to 59 inclusive for taking oysters by hand. Any resident who turned 60 years of age on or after June 1, 2000 shall be required to purchase a senior fishing license to take oysters.


Any person who qualifies and who desires to lease a part of the bottom of any state waters shall present to the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries a written application and cash deposit of such amount as determined by LDWF.


Culling oysters, which is the act of discarding undersized oysters or dead shell, shall be performed only on the open designated public areas or on private leases on which the fisherman is authorized to take oysters. At no time will the act of culling oysters be permitted in areas closed to oyster harvest.
The taking of oysters one half hour after sunset until one half hour before sunrise is prohibited.
Oysters taken from the reefs of this state either for sale or consumption shall be landed in Louisiana, except with an out of state oyster landing permit and in compliance with all other rules and regulations.