Beginning next month, Louisiana oyster harvesters will have a two-week opportunity to move oysters from the public oyster seed grounds located southwest of Point Au Fer and the South Point area and transplant them to their private leases for later harvest. This is located in Oyster Harvest Areas 24 and 25.
This oyster transplant program, which will run from April 1 to April 14, 2014, is for the purposes of moving live oysters from the restricted areas of the public seed grounds to private oyster leases. It is a joint initiative of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
The two state agencies allow such transplants on a permit-only basis. Permit applications will be accepted from March 7 to March 14, 2014 at DHH’s Baton Rouge headquarters, located at 628 N. 4th Street.
The oysters that are transplanted must remain in approved waters for a minimum of 15 days. In addition, leases on which shellfish have been transplanted may not be utilized for direct market harvesting during this period. Shellfish taken for transplanting purposes shall not be laid down within 500 feet of any adjoining lease where shellfish may be taken for sale as food during the active period of the transplant.
The transplant permit fee is $100 and a performance bond of $5,000 must accompany the transplant application. Oyster fishermen who are granted permits will be allowed to transplant between April 1, 2014 and April 14, 2014 only.
Each transplant vessel must be under the direct supervision of a commissioned officer. All costs associated with the commissioned officer are the responsibility of the person securing the permit. Incomplete applications will be rejected.
Oyster fishermen who receive permits will be allowed to transplant oysters taken from the public oyster seed grounds southwest of Point Au Fer and the South Point area to only two leases in an approved bedding area, each pre-approved by DHH. A map detailing the area of the public oyster seed grounds available for transplanting activities can be found here. A map identifying the lease where the transplanted oysters will be bedded must accompany each permit application.
Those interested in applying for a transplant permit should contact Gordon LeBlanc with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Molluscan Shellfish Program at (225) 342-7539 or (225) 342-7540. Applications for transplant permits may be obtained between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday at the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, 628 N. 4th Street Baton Rouge, LA, 70821.