LDWF recognizes an increase in interest to import the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) into Louisiana to develop genetic diversity and/or polyploidy broodstock to enhance wild native populations and improve cage culture production (on-bottom and off-bottom). However, per Louisiana Revised Statutes (R.S.) §56:20, the release of any fish species into state waters from outside of the state is prohibited, except upon the written permission of the Secretary of LDWF.
LDWF established an oyster importation process to allow oyster importation while reducing the threat of introducing damaging organisms associated with oysters to Louisiana waters. Regardless of life stage, imported oysters must have less than 10% prevalence of Dermo and zero prevalence of other diseases, viruses, parasites, and invasive species. Oyster health must be documented within an Oyster Health Certificate and accompanying pathology report to be approved for importation. Only C. virginica from northern Gulf of Mexico stocks will be considered for import into Louisiana.
Those interested in importing oysters into Louisiana must submit an application (there is no application fee). Applicants should understand the costs associated with obtaining the required Oyster Health Certificate and pathology report. They should also understand that a 30-day quarantine period may be imposed on imported oysters, depending on the oyster’s origin. Application review can take up to three weeks.
Filing an application does NOT guarantee approval. Permits are issued on a case-by-case basis. Applicants will be notified in writing if approved. If an application is approved, the permit holder is required to provide 48-hour notice to LDWF before each permitted import event.