Last week, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission set the 2016-17 oyster season in Calcasieu Lake. The season was set based on the annual oyster stock assessment provided by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and comments received from members of the public, including the oyster industry.
Both the East Side and West Cove portions of the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area will open one-half hour before sunrise on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. However, this action does not supersede public health closures.
During the 2016-17 oyster season, the following provisions will be in effect:
1. Any vessel from which any person(s) takes or attempts to take oysters from the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area described above are limited to a daily take and possession limit not to exceed seven sacks of oysters per vessel. A sack of oysters for the purposes of this declaration of emergency shall be defined as the size described in R.S. 56:440.
2. If any person on a vessel takes or attempts to take oysters from the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area described above, all oysters contained on that vessel will be deemed to have been taken from said public oyster area from the time harvest begins until all oysters are off-loaded dockside.
3. Prior to leaving the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area with oysters harvested from said oyster area, all oysters must be sacked. The number of sacks should be recorded in a log book, and each sack shall be properly tagged.
4. All vessels located in the Calcasieu Lake Public Oyster Area during those times between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise should have all oyster dredges unshackled.
The following areas shall remain closed for the 2016/2017 oyster season:
1. The 2015 Calcasieu Lake West Cove Cultch Plant within the following coordinates:
A. 29 degrees 52 minutes 39.66 seconds
93 degrees 23 minutes 42.14 seconds
B. 29 degrees 52 minutes 28.94 seconds
93 degrees 23 minutes 42.20 seconds
C. 29 degrees 52 minutes 39.60 seconds
93 degrees 23 minutes 31.92 seconds
D. 29 degrees 52 minutes 29.01 seconds
93 degrees 23 minutes 31.92 seconds
2. The 2015 Calcasieu Lake Southeast Side Cultch Plant within the following coordinates:
A. 29 degrees 50 minutes 25.46 seconds
93 degrees 17 minutes 05.83 seconds
B. 29 degrees 50 minutes 19.83 seconds
93 degrees 17 minutes 04.64 seconds
C. 29 degrees 50 minutes 28.52 seconds
93 degrees 16 minutes 51.37 seconds
D. 29 degrees 50 minutes 22.86 seconds
93 degrees 16 minutes 50.19 seconds
3. The Cheniere Reef Artificial Reef Planning Area within the following coordinates:
A. 29 degrees 51 minutes 09.10 seconds
93 degrees 17 minutes 06.96 seconds
B. 29 degrees 51 minutes 09.35 seconds
93 degrees 16 minutes 50.20 seconds
C. 29 degrees 51 minutes 05.33 seconds
93 degrees 16 minutes 46.06 seconds
D. 29 degrees 50 minutes 50.72 seconds
93 degrees 16 minutes 45.78 seconds
E. 29 degrees 50 minutes 50.96 seconds
93 degrees 17 minutes 09.62 seconds
F. 29 degrees 51 minutes 05.56 seconds
93 degrees 17 minutes 09.90 seconds
4. The Sabine Lake Public Oyster Area (as described in R.S. 56:435.1).
Closure dates will be determined by LDWF Secretary Melancon on an “as needed” basis, based on biological and harvest data, or if enforcement issues are encountered. The Secretary is also authorized by the Commission to take emergency action to reopen areas previously closed if the threat to the resource has ended, and to open public areas if substantial oyster resources are located.
Public notice of any opening, delay or closure of a season will be provided at least 72 hours in advance, unless such closure is ordered by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals for public health concerns.
Visit http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/fishing/commerical-oyster-seasons for more information on Louisiana oyster seasons.