The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would like to remind oyster harvesters fishing in the public oyster areas of Louisiana that the following gear requirements are currently in effect.
The New Gear Restrictions (Act 133) limited the size and use of scrapers on public oyster areas (public oyster seed grounds, public oyster seed reservations, Calcasieu Lake public oyster area):
- Scrapers must not be more than 54 inches in width (Calcasieu Lake maximum scraper width is 36 inches) measured along the tooth bar.
- Scrapers cannot weigh more than 175 pounds.
- Diving boards, hydrofoils, and any other equipment intended to create downward pressure are now illegal.
- Scraper teeth cannot be longer than 5 inches, with a minimum of 2 1/4 inch spacing from the center of one tooth to the next. A tooth shall not exceed 11/16 of an inch in diameter.
- No more than two scrapers can be in use on any one vessel on public oyster grounds and reservations, although only one is allowed per vessel in the Calcasieu Lake public oyster area.
- An oyster scraper bag must be single mesh with a minimum mesh size of 3 inches stretched.
These laws were passed during the 2016 legislative session and went into effect on August 1, 2016.
LDWF would also like to remind oyster harvesters of the new training requirement for the 2017 license year. All oyster harvesters will be required to complete an education program before applying for their 2017 oyster harvester license. This program consists of an in-depth training video, which all harvesters must watch in full and answer the accompanying questions with a minimum score of 80 percent. Harvesters will be required to take this program every three years. The required course training material can be found at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/oyster-harvester-training-videos.