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Alternative Oyster Culture

If you hold a valid oyster lease on public or private* water bottoms in Louisiana, you may apply to LDWF for an Alternative Oyster Culture Permit to grow (and harvest) oysters on your leased area by any of the following methods:

  • On-bottom cages, racks, or bags
  • Off-bottom cages, racks, or bags, suspended by poles or floats
  • String or longline
  • Other approved method as specified in your permit.

 In addition, to apply for this permit, you must:

  • Have an Oyster Harvester License and a Commercial Fisherman License
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a Louisiana resident (or a corporation organized in Louisiana).

*A valid private oyster lease is defined in Louisiana Revised Statutes 56:425.1(E) as in effect and properly recorded as of February 1, 2016.

 

Before Applying for a Permit

Before applying for an Alternative Oyster Culture Permit, you must first obtain a Coastal Use Permit from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. For more information, call 800.267.4019 or visit LDNR’s website. Other permits, permissions, or approvals that may be needed for your Alternative Oyster Culture Permit, will generally be identified through the Coastal Use Permit process.

You should also confirm the availability of your leased area for permitting, as there are some restrictions regarding areas for which Alternative Oyster Culture Permits may be granted. View LDWF’s Oyster Map to see which coastal areas are available for permitting and contact Marc Maniscalco with LDWF’s Oyster Lease Section at mmaniscalco@wlf.la.gov, 504.284.5277, or in person—LDWF’s Oyster Lease Section is open 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, at 2045 Lakeshore Drive, 4th floor, New Orleans, LA.

Be sure to provide your name and lease number. LDWF will provide a standard oyster lease plat showing the lease boundary and the areas within the lease that are available for permitting.

 

Apply for a Permit

The leaseholder, or an agent with power of attorney to appear and act on the leaseholder’s behalf, must apply in person at LDWF’s Oyster Lease Section at 2045 Lakeshore Drive, 4th floor, New Orleans, LA. Office hours are 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

The applicant must submit a completed Permit Application, along with:

  • A plat(s) (hard copy and digital file) using standard signs and symbols and drawn in black ink on a standard oyster lease plat furnished by LDWF’s Oyster Lease Section showing:
    • All corners of the lease and proposed permit area, facilities, and equipment, referenced to geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) or the Louisiana State Plane Coordinate System, South Zone, NAD83, Survey Feet
    •  The exact acreage requested to be permitted, calculated to the hundredth of an acre. Note that for all other purpose pertaining to the permit, acreage should be rounded up to the next highest acre. Acreage should be calculated in NAD 1983 State Plane Louisiana South – Survey Feet.  
    • The applicant’s name, lease number, application number, and signature.

The plat must also include or be accompanied by a plot plan and schematics clearly showing the nature, location, and physical extent, horizontally and vertically, of all alternative oyster culture activities, facilities, and equipment requested to be permitted. The proposed permit area’s location and configuration must avoid unreasonable interference with surface navigation, passage by watercraft, and any other authorized public use. Fencing is not allowed.

The plat must also be accompanied by a shape file that complies with the LDWF’s Oyster Lease Section's geographic information system.

  • All other local, state, and federal permits necessary for the activity requested to be permitted, or documentation from the relevant agencies stating that such permits are not necessary. These permits include but are not limited to:
    • LDNR Coastal Use Permit. For more information, call 800.267.4019 or visit LDNR’s website. The other permits listed below and other permissions or approvals that may be needed for your Alternative Oyster Culture Permit will generally be identified through the Coastal Use Permit process.
    • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sections 9 and/or 10 Permits (Obstruction to Navigation) and/or Section 404 Fill Permit. If applicable, you can apply for these permits jointly with your Coastal Use Permit. For more information, call 504.862.2766 or visit the Corps’ website.  
    • Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Water Quality Certification. Necessity for this certification will be determined under the Coastal Use Permit process. For more information, contact 225.219.3225 or jamie.phillippe@la.gov or visit LDEQ’s website.
    • United States Coast Guard Navigational Aid Permit, otherwise known as form CG-2554.
  • An estimated cost of removing and properly disposing of all equipment, facilities, and other items requested to be permitted. This cost estimate must be prepared by a contractor who has a valid Louisiana Commercial Contractor License for the classification of Heavy Construction or Coastal Restoration and Habitat Enhancement and has no familial or business relationship with the applicant. View a list of licensed contractors.
  • Application fee of $100
  • Copy of the power of attorney, if the person submitting the application is appearing and acting on behalf of the lessee under power of attorney.

Please note that LDWF may require additional information.

 

Permit Review and Approval

LDWF will post a notice of a new permit application and a point of contact for comment on the application online and provide notice via email to everyone who has requested written notification, at least 15 days prior to acting on the application.

LDWF will review a permit application and determine whether to grant the permit, grant it with modifications, or deny it.

  • If LDWF grants the permit with modifications, department staff will discuss the application further with the applicant before issuing the permit.
  • If LDWF grants the permit, or if LDWF and the applicant agree to issuance of a permit with modifications, the department will issue the permit to the applicant at the address in the application.
  • If LDWF denies the permit, the department will issue a notice of permit denial to the applicant at the address in the application.
  • Permits are granted for a 10-year period.

Current Pending Permits

LDWF is required to post notice of all Alternative Oyster Culture permits for comment on our website at least 15 days prior to acting on the application. Below are the current Alternative Oyster Culture permit applications. They will remain here for a period of 15 days. 

To comment on an application, please fill out the Alternative Oyster Culture Comment Form to submit your comments to LDWF.

Applicant Parish Waterbody Application Date Application Link Comment Period
Jules Melancon Lafourche Bay Des Ilettes 5-21-14 AOC Application - 20140001 Closed
Robert Campo St. Bernard False Mouth Bay 6-18-14 AOC Application - 20140002 Closed
Jules Melancon Jefferson Barataria Bay 6-27-16 AOC Application - 201600001 Closed
Pearl River Fisheries of Louisiana St. Bernard  Little Bayou Pierre   6-15-17 AOC Application - 20170001 Closed
Jason Pitre, Bayou Rosa Oyster Farm, LLC  Lafourche   Little Lake  8-8-17 AOC Application - 20170002 Closed
 Terry Shelley  Plaquemines  Bayou Huertes 8-8-17 AOC Application - 20170003 Closed
Grand Isle Sea Farms Lafourche Picciola Tract - A 12-9-19 AOC Application - 20190001 Closed
Grand Isle Sea Farms Lafourche Picciola Tract - B 12-9-19 AOC Application - 20190002 Closed

 

Permit Restrictions and Requirements

LDWF may issue Alternative Oyster Culture Permits in numbers, locations, sizes, and configurations specified by the department; these parameters may deviate from the original application. In addition, the approved permit may contain restrictions or requirements for:

  • Equipment and materials authorized or required to be used for alternative oyster culture activities
  • Marking, lighting, or warning devices authorized or required in relation to alternative oyster culture activities
  • Reporting information or data to enable LDWF to monitor and or study permit activities and results
  • Surety bond equal to the anticipated cost of removing and properly disposing of all permitted equipment, facilities, and other items.

When an approved permit is issued, the permittee must pay the first annual permit fee ($2 per acre or fraction of an acre, per year, or fraction of a year through December 31, for the first year), within 15 days of receiving the permit. Note that the fee shall not exceed $1,000 per permit per year. The permittee must also post the surety bond in the amount determined by LDWF, if required, within 15 days of receiving the approved permit.

When placing any equipment or materials on state water bottoms, and prior to engaging in permitted alternative oyster culture activities, the permittee must comply with any conditions imposed in the permit regarding marking, lighting, or warning devices, including at a minimum:

  • Markers along the boundaries of the permit area, at intervals of 75 feet, between 3 and 12 feet above the water level
  • Markers along the boundaries of the areas where alternative oyster culture facilities or equipment are actually located, at intervals of 20 feet, between 3 and 12 feet above the water level
  • Buoys conforming to U.S. Coast Guard markings at all corners of the permit area and the areas where alternative oyster culture equipment or facilities are actually located, and midway between the corners if separated by more than 1,000 feet.
  • A tag with the Alternative Oyster Culture Permit number must be permanently attached to each buoy, main cage, bag, float, or other structure used for alternative oyster culture activities.