Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division agents cited a Port Sulphur man for alleged oyster and boating safety violations on June 14 in Plaquemines Parish.
Agents were on patrol in the area of Grand Bayou when they came into contact with Joel Gonzales, 30, on a vessel with 194 sacks of oysters. Agents immediately noticed the vessel was not equipped with a tarp as per Department of Health and Hospitals regulations to protect the oysters from direct exposure to the sun and other adverse conditions.
Upon further investigation agents also determined Gonzales’ vessel did not have the required numbers for identification for the departments aircraft, the vessel was not registered by the department and was not licensed to transport seafood for sale. The vessel also did not meet LDWF regulations for an oyster cargo vessel, which requires installation of a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS).
For having a vessel with no boat numbers, operating an unregistered motorboat and failing to display proper number on vessel each carry a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail. Violation of the state’s health code as it pertains to oysters carries a $450 fine and up to 10 days in jail. Violation of VMS regulations carries a max fine of $950 and up to 120 days in jail plus court cost and forfeiture of anything seized. Taking commercial fish without a vessel license carries up to a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
Agents seized and returned 194 sacks of oysters to the state’s water bottoms.
Agents participating in the case are Sgts. Adam Young and Villere Reggio, and Cadet Travis Bartlett.
For more information, contact Adam Einck at 225-465-2465 or firstname.lastname@example.org.