Nine Cited For Oyster Violations in St. Bernard Parish

Release Date: 02/09/2019

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents cited nine men for alleged oyster violations on Feb. 6, 2019 in St. Bernard Parish.
Agents cited Emiliano Carvajal, 54, Emilio Carbajal, 48, Leonardo Vega, 39, Juan Ramirez, 28, and Isidro Colunga, 52, all of Houma, Eliazar Martinez, 62, of Houston, Texas, Gary Cotton, 54, of McComb, Miss., Jerry Wells, 46, of Smithdale, Miss., and Willie Bell, 58, of Kenner, for taking undersized oysters from a natural reef.
Agents were on patrol on the public oyster seed ground in Lake Borgne near the Halfmoon Island cultch plant when they made contact with the nine men on three separate vessels actively harvesting oysters.
Agents inspected their oysters and found the men in possession of undersized oysters that made up more than 15 percent of their entire catch.  All oysters being removed from the public seed grounds must be three inches from hinge to mouth and undersized oyster cannot make up over 15 percent of the entire catch.
Agents seized a total of 72 sacks of oysters and returned them to the water.
Taking undersized oysters from a natural reef carries a up to a $350 fine and 60 days in jail.  Addtionally, the court may order the offender, for one year after the date of such conviction, to harvest oysters only from a vessel that employs a vessel monitoring system.