Release Date: 12/12/2006

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited two men on Dec. 7 for alleged violations of the state sanitary code specific to oysters. 

Agents assigned to the Oyster Strike Force and Region 8 investigated a seafood dock located in lower St Bernard Parish.  Agents seized 135 sacks of oysters in violation of the state sanitation code. 

Agents cited Stephen A. Martin, 40, of Violet, for improper tags, failure to fill out the harvester log book correctly, and failure to refrigerate oysters.  At the same location, Christopher Reed Laforce, 39, of Grand Bay, Alabama, was cited for improper tags.

State sanitary code regulations require the harvester perform the initial tagging of shell-stock before the oysters are removed from the harvester's boat.  In the event that shell-stock are harvested from more than one growing area on a given day, the shell-stock shall be sacked and tagged before leaving from the growing area from which the shell-stock was harvested.  The harvester's tags shall contain all the necessary legible information for the purpose of identifying the date of harvest, dealer information, location of harvest, type and quantity of shellfish and commercial fisherman information.

State sanitary code regulations also require during the month of December that oysters are placed under refrigeration within 36 hours from the time harvest begins.

The state sanitary code regulations also require that prior to the taking of oysters, the harvester shall make the following legible entries in the harvester log sheet:

 Boat name/number;
 Harvester name/license number;
 Harvester signature and date;
 Harvesting area/lease number (note: if there is a change relating to harvesting area/lease number, the changes must be documented on log sheet);
 Time harvesting begins;
 Harvester shall declare whether oysters will be bedded, shucked, relayed or other.

Upon completion of the taking of oysters, and prior to the leaving of the harvesting site, the harvester shall record the time harvesting ended and the total number of sacks harvested.

The 135 sacks of oysters were seized and returned to an area where they could not be harvested.

The penalty for violating the sanitary code is a fine of $25 and loss of the oysters.

Agents participating in the case were Sgt. Bryan Marie, Sr. Agt. Mike Garrity, Lt. Stephen McManus, Sgt. Jimmy Gregoire, Sgt. Eddie Skena, Senior Agent Jason Gernados and Senior Agent Kris Bourgeous.

For more information: contact Lt. Col. Keith LaCaze at 225-765-2988 or klacaze@wlf.louisiana.gov.