Alternative Oyster Culture
If you hold a valid oyster lease of state water bottoms*, own water bottom, or hold a dual-claimed water bottom**, you may be eligible to apply for an Alternative Oyster Culture Permit to grow (and harvest) oysters within the leased areas 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 Fishing License
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a Louisiana resident (or a corporation organized in Louisiana).
* pursuant to R.S. 56:427 or 428
**dual-claimed water bottom as defined in R.S. 56:425.1
Apply for a Permit
Applicant, or an agent with power of attorney to act on the leaseholder’s behalf, must contact the AOC Permits Coordinator to schedule an appointment to appear in person to apply for an AOC Permit.
It may be required for the applicant to provide:
- 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.
- 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, email OCMInfo@la.gov or visit LDNR’s website.
- 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. If applicable, you can apply for this jointly with your Coastal Use Permit. Necessity for this certification will be determined under the Coastal Use Permit process. For more information, contact 225.219.3225 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit LDEQ’s website.
- United States Coast Guard Navigational Aid Permit, otherwise known as form CG-2554. For more information, please email D8oanPATON@uscg.mil or visit the Coast Guard’s website.
- 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.
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 may 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). An annual permit fee ($2 per acre or fraction of an acre) is due each year thereafter.
When placing any equipment or materials on water bottoms, and prior to engaging in permitted alternative oyster culture activities, the permittee must comply with United States Coast Guard regulations and requirements, and with all state and federal laws and regulations, as amended from time to time, imposed regarding marking, lighting, and warning devices for AOC activities. All areas where such equipment or materials are present on state water bottoms or in the water column shall be clearly marked.
Each buoy, each main cage, bag, or float, and each structure used for AOC activities shall contain an indelible and permanent tag that includes the permit number, permit holder name, and permit holder contact information.